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News from RtR

PM to oversee new DA laws?

Theresa MayThere was a lot of media coverage this week of the PM's apparent plans to personally oversee new legislation aimed at domestic abuse.

While announcing a "major new programme of work" to be co-ordinated by the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice, Downing Street commented:

Domestic violence and abuse shatters lives but the way we deal with it at the moment does not go far enough – with a plethora of different offences and procedures scattered across the statute book. 

This lack of clarity has led to an unacceptable diversity across the country in terms of the degree of effort put in to try and tackle it. Although the prosecution of, and convictions for, such offences have started to improve in recent years, there is inconsistency in the use and effectiveness of the various law enforcement measures across the country.

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West Berks say thanks

West Berkshire Safer Communities PartnershipWest Berkshire Council's White Ribbon Giving Tree appeal has raised £353.50. The generous donations will be spent directly on children from or in West Berkshire who have experienced Domestic Abuse and are currently staying in refuges with their mothers.

Our DA Champion trainer in West Berks - Michelle Charlesworth from West Berkshire Domestic Abuse Service - said, "These donations make a huge difference to children who are displaced from their homes due to Domestic Abuse. They have had to leave their familiar and treasured belongings behind and trips to the swimming pool or the cinema are often out of reach for them. Experiences take them away from that sadness for a short while and help them to make new friends."

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2017 OSCB Annual Conference

Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children BoardOSCB are pleased to announce their 2017 Annual Conference, to take place on Wednesday March 8, 2017 at The King’s Centre in Oxford from 09.30 - 15.30.

The theme is "Relationships and identity" and the keynote speakers will provide a national perspective on relationships, including the issues faced in LGBTQ relationships.  The day, designed for professionals, will highlight issues faced by children and adolescents struggling with issues around relationships, sexuality and identity. There will also be a focussed session on the Early Help Assessment and Threshold of Needs.

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Stalking Conference - Gloucestershire

Hollie Gazzard TrustOur good friend Nick Gazzard has organised a conference with an amazing group of speakers, providing an overview of the new Gloucestershire Stalking Support Service (GSSS) available to Gloucestershire victims. Stalking is one of the most frequently experienced forms of abuse, abuse that can destroy the lives of its victims and escalate to rape and murder.

The Gloucestershire Stalking Support Service will not only ensure a robust response to stalking behaviour and its victims in the County, but also increase awareness of stalking, encouraging reporting and raising awareness amongst multi-agency professionals on the risks and how to respond.  Raising awareness and providing advice and assistance to those being stalked is of paramount importance. As a part of the overall strategy for Gloucestershire, a dedicated stalking helpline will be available as well as advice and guidance from a fully trained Independent Stalking Advocacy Caseworker (IASAC).

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What is the Istanbul Convention?

IC an end to violence against women - Ratify the Istanbul Convention - #ICChangeYou're likely to see a great focus on this issue this week in the press. The "Istanbul Convention" is an international Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, which creates a strong, practical basis to prevent violence, protect women and girls from violence, and prosecute perpetrators. The UK signed it in 2012 but has yet to ratify it -- that means the Convention currently has no legal status and while the Government is taking action to meet some of its requirements it can pick and choose which parts of the Convention it wants to focus on.

MP Eilidh Whiteford put forward a private member's bill last year to ratify the convention which picked up government support and passed its second reading by 135 votes to 2.  It's now heading for its third reading this Friday, February 24 and the IC Change campaign is encouraging supporters to ask their MPs to turn up and vote in favour of the bill.

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Comic Relief focus on DA

ComicRelief.pngComic Relief has outdone themselves this year, with a profile of our very own IDVA Jacky featuring as one of their domestic abuse stories online. Jacky talks about what the job of an IDVA involves and the difference they can make to their clients' lives.

As if that wasn't enough, Comic Relief's have also released a video by Rapman (below) with a strong message to youngsters about classic DA issues.

Since Comic Relief began it has supported over 400 projects (including some of ours) that together have helped over 900,000 people experiencing domestic violence in the UK, both through their funded projects and via their support to the National Domestic Violence Helpline run in partnership between Refuge and Women’s Aid. Without their support any number of valuable DA initiatives couldn't have gone ahead.

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Sexual Abuse/Violence Workshop - Oxford

8th March - International Womens DayFollowing on from the success of our recent Sexual Abuse and Violence Workshop we are pleased to deliver another in conjunction with Oxfordshire Adult Learning.

We don’t talk about sexual abuse enough. That’s not okay! The silence surrounding abuse needs to be broken!

Oxfordshire Adult LearningSign up for a workshop that aims to raise awareness of sexual abuse and violence

Due to be held on International Women's Day, Wednesday March 8, 2017 (Registration: 13.00 - 13.30, Workshop: 13.30 - 16.00)

Jack Argent Room, Blackbird Leys Community Centre, Blackbird Leys Road, Blackbird Leys, Oxford OX4 6HW

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Technology vs. abuse

Newly published in January was a report (from SafeLives, Snook and Chayn) about the use of digital tools to support people affected by domestic abuse

This report -- based on input from hundreds of survivors of domestic abuse and from the professionals who support them -- looks at two interlinked aspects of technology in relation to domestic abuse. Firstly, how can victims and survivors be helped to be safer online by avoiding the risks technology can create? And secondly, how can technology help them more directly -- what are the key challenges that aren't being met at the moment? 

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#ListenToYourSelfie

Childline has teamed up with OMD UK and Don’t Panic to launch the #ListenToYourSelfie campaign to highlight the signs of child sexual exploitation and what to do if it is being experienced.

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said: “Young people may not understand what is right or wrong in a relationship, or what to do if something makes them feel uncomfortable, online or offline. #ListenToYourSelfie is aimed at helping young people recognise signs of being manipulated, controlled or exploited so they feel empowered to make their own decisions or choices."

New figures from Childline show the number of counselling sessions for children worried about online sexual abuse rose last year by 24%. Most of these were aged 12-15 and almost two-thirds were girls.

The campaign, which has been funded by BBC Children in Need, features two films where selfies come to life and question a situation – "The Game" focuses on a same-sex online grooming scenario and "The Party" highlights peer to peer sexual pressure and grooming.

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Funding for Housing Initiative

DAHA: Domestic Abuse Housing AllianceA landlord-led initiative to tackle domestic abuse in the social housing sector has been awarded £30,000 of funding from the government.

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New DA video from Hampshire

The North-East-Hampshire Forum on DA has released a video featuring a survivor of domestic abuse. This could prove a useful aid for training and generating discussion.

The story of Jane (not her real name), reveals the true nature of living life with an abuser; a 17 year old girl falls in love with an older man, who begins to manipulate and control her. He systematically isolates her from her family and friends, and when she becomes pregnant, she is unable to go to university.

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Do you bank with Nationwide?

NationwideOr do you have friends and family who do? We are thrilled to hear that Reducing the Risk of Domestic Abuse has been nominated to feature in Nationwide's "Community Match" programme - their in-branch, local charity voting scheme.

You should see Reducing the Risk listed on a poster in the Community Match stand in the following Nationwide branches: 

  • Oxford
  • Aylesbury
  • Thame
  • Didcot
  • Abingdon
  • Henley-on-Thames
  • Wallingford
  • Princess Risborough

If you get a chance, please do visit one of these branches and vote for us with a blue token -- and ask anyone you know who uses Nationwide to do the same.

The winning cause that receives the most votes before the end of March will receive a £1000 donation -- and we're sure none of you need to be told how much good that would do for victims and survivors of domestic abuse locally!

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Sexual Violence Awareness Week 2017

SexualViolenceAwarenessWeek2017.pngThe first week in February each year is designated as Sexual Violence Awareness Week in the UK. Here are some words from the organisers:

How can I/we get involved?

If you are an individual you can join the conversation on social media following the topic hashtag and/or make contact with your local organisation to get involved in promoting awareness.

If you are an organisation you can recycle or create a campaign with the Awareness Week logo and hashtag to promote awareness of your services, prevention, support etc. As well as participate in social media conversations and involve your local media and community.

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Fundraising update

Virgin Money London MarathonAs we mentioned last month, our RtR marathon runner Richard is taking part in the Virgin Money London Marathon this April. Although travelling the world on business, he is still fitting in his training schedule and we wish him well for the big day. We hope to bring you some regular updates on his progress in the weeks to come!

You can sponsor Richard, and help out Reducing the Risk, via his page on Virgin Giving (Virgin sponsor the London Marathon and provide associated services).

If you are keen to fundraise and would consider nominating Reducing the Risk as a charity we are registered on BT MyDonate (which unlike many online donation sites lets us keep 100% of the money raised) and you can create your own sponsorship page from there. We are working on an official fundraising pack at the moment so if you do want to take on a fundraising event get in touch and you may be one of the first to try it out!

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Oxfordshire publish young persons' pathway for DA

Oxfordshire County CouncilOxfordshire County Council have now confirmed their pathway for those victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse who are under 18 years of age. This has been expected for some time and clarifies a number of issues and questions raised over recent years.

There is no lower age limit for this pathway and the Safelives Young Persons' DASH should now be used to assess the initial risk. Check out the new process online and learn how it relates to MARAMPs and MARACs in Oxfordshire.

 
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AVA are mapping the maze

AVA.gifDo you provide services for women experiencing multiple disadvantage (defined as being affected by a combination of problematic substance use, mental ill-health, homelessness and/or involvement with the criminal justice system)?

AVA and Agenda have been funded to map services across England and Wales that are specifically for women in this position. The map will be made available online in March 2017 and will provide practitioners with a facility to search for services in both countries as well as offering a national picture of service provision that will be useful for policy makers, funders and campaigners.

If you deliver any services for women specifically affected by substance use, mental ill-health, homelessness or offending then they would like to include information about the support you provide on the Mapping the Maze map. You can submit information about your service(s) online. Deadline for submissions is 21 February 2017.

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Stalking Protection Orders

Home OfficeThe Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has announced her intention to introduce new stalking protection orders. Ms Rudd stated that the orders were designed for early intervention, to stop ‘stranger stalking’ before it escalates and to keep victims safe. Following on from the specific stalking legislation that was introduced four years ago, the new orders offer protection at the earliest possible stage, so that victims should no longer have to wait for a perpetrator’s behaviour to escalate before something can be done.

The new orders will enable the police to apply to the courts for an order, with specific conditions attached, which may include:

  • restrictive conditions; prohibiting perpetrators from making contact with their victims and restricting internet use
  • rehabilitation requirements; such as addressing behaviour/mental health issues
  • similar to non-molestation orders, a breach of the order will be a criminal offence
  • a maximum penalty of up to five years imprisonment.

There is no requirement for there to have been an intimate relationship between the victim and the perpetrator; this helps those who are the targets of strangers, work colleagues, as well as professionals such as doctors who may be targeted by patients.

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Call the Midwife features DA storyline

The Call the Midwife castFollowing public criticsm for the latest episode of Call the Midwife which had a very powerful incident of physical abuse of a pregnant woman, Stephen McGann (who plays the part of the local GP) talked to Loose Women about the storyline and of his own background. His wife is on the production team and he discusses one survivor's letter of thanks.

The criticism was essentially shock that it had been difficult and uncomfortable viewing in a pre-watershed slot, but this isn't the first time that Call the Midwife has tackled difficult subject matter and we think it sent many positive messages.

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New Initiative for Valentine's Day

A2DominionThe local community has pulled together to support Oxfordshire and West Berkshire Domestic Abuse Services (OWBDAS), who support victims of domestic abuse across Oxfordshire & West Berkshire via their refuge services, helpline, outreach services and support groups, and help spread the love this Valentine’s Day.

After a generous donation of nearly 400 bath products from LUSH’s Oxford store, staff at OWBDAS wasted no time planning how they could be put to best use. It was decided to start a campaign just in time for Valentines Day called “Love Shouldn’t Hurt” by selling bath bombs. They visited Hobbycraft Oxford and met with the store manager who kindly put together some samples of how to package the products and donated the materials free of charge. 

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AAFDA Annual Conference

AAFDAFrank Mullane and our other friends at Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse (AAFDA) are planning their next annual conference with some fantastic speakers at Swindon Marriott Hotel on March 7. Always well attended, this is an opportunity to hear the perspectives of families and those involved in the criminal justice system, ask questions and  network. It costs £135 if booking before February 14.

More information, list of speakers and booking via Eventbrite.

Or email AAFDA with any queries.

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