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News from RtR

Mental Health 2018

For those working within mental health, this event could be of interest:

Delivering the Five year Forward View

19th of September 2018 - RSM, London

FGM in Ireland

There has been much debate in the Irish press this last few weeks about Islam and FGM.

It appears there was much confusion after one Islamic Leader felt there might be medical reasons for FGM. The spokesman for the Islamic Cultural Centre in Clonskeagh, Dublin and its Imam, Shaykh Hussein Halawa, came under fire after Dr Selim, on RTÉ’s Prime Time, apparently made a distinction between FGM and female circumcision.

Thames Valley Police: Crime Data Integrity inspection 2017

Following a lengthy inspection of Thames Valley Police, a newly published report from HMICFRS (HM Inspectorate of Constabularies, Fire & Rescue Services) criticises the force in its recording of crime. One specific issue around domestic abuse was that crimes were not recorded correctly at some domestic incidents. The force were graded as "Inadequate" on their ability to record crimes.

Slough Family Information Service

Whilst delivering our 2 day session recently to create a fresh new cohort of DA Champions in Slough, we had the pleasure of meeting members of the borough's Family Information Service.

We thought that we would share details about what they do and what they can offer clients in Slough:

Free impartial information and guidance on a wide range of services for children, young people and their families in Slough.

Male victims: why a gender informed approach matters

Respect: Men and Women Working Together To End Domestic ViolenceOur good friends at Respect are holding a large event in London on Wednesday March 21 with some exceptional speakers.

This event will focus on how to provide safe, effective and accountable services for male victims of domestic violence and abuse which meet their diverse needs. It will explore why a needs-led, gender-informed approach works for men and how this fits with a similar approach for women.

Participants will hear from organisations who have developed safe models for working with male victims, as well as from organisations who have expanded from working only with women to now including men.

The event will also explore why the Respect Standards for Work with Male Victims are important and how these fit with other standards in the sector.

When should Social Services disclose to police?

We all know the benefits of collaborative work between agencies. The Community Care website has been discussing risk assessment and why a client may be reluctant to involve the police; their full article will be of interest to readers working in child/adult social care. If you're a Community Care Inform subscriber there are links in the article to practice guidance on when to involve the police in cases involving adults and/or children, but even if you aren't there's some high-level best practice advice.

Mother's Day is March 11 this year...

Give as you Live...please remember that we are registered with Give As You Live, which enables you to shop as you normally do online but earn us a bonus at the same time!

Shopping through Give As you Live still allows you all your normal chances to buy that special present for a special mother, but it will also generate a small donation to us from the retailer at no extra cost to you.

Legal Aid Update

Ministry Of JusticeEvidence requirements for private family law disputes have changed with statements from support organisations and housing officers about a history of domestic abuse now permitted in establishing eligibility for legal aid, following a review of the evidence requirements set out in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) 2012.

Justice Minister Dominic Raab said “[These changes] will ensure that vulnerable women and children get legal support, so their voice is properly heard in court.”

"Bi-Directional Violence" is a wrong term for DA

I was heartened to pick up an interesting article from our friends at Aurora New Dawn about a new and dangerous term for Situational Couple Violence or Violent Resistance (terms come from Johnson's Typology). The article refers to reports into police conduct and a Domestic Homicide Review; I have added links for those interested.

The following paragraphs are an excerpt of their concerns:

In recent months I have seen a new terminology being used. The term bi-directional violence has become common parlance in some multi agency meetings. The term has been generated to capture relationships in which both parties use violence and/or abusive behaviours to one another. The term suggests that a single primary aggressor cannot be identified. My question then is how would a survivor feel? Particularly those who begin to resist and fight back, knowing that their acts of self-defence, their attempts at protecting themselves, their use of learned aggression against the perpetrator are seen as a balanced form of intimate partner violence?

DA reforms shelved by Brexit, claims MP

Jess PhillipsA planned reform to help survivors of domestic abuse has fallen by the wayside because “the government doesn’t have the capacity for any non-Brexit legislation", a Labour MP has said.

Jess Phillips, chair of the women's parliamentary Labour party, has said that legislation aimed at stopping abusive former partners from cross-examining their victims in family courts was “shelved” due to the snap election, with no date set for it to go through the Houses of Parliament.

The measures, set out within the Prison and Courts Bill, had received cross-party support and in February last year Liz Truss, then justice secretary, said: “This is a humiliating and appalling practice which must be banned as quickly as possible.” However, Phillips said that the legislation has now been quietly dropped by the government, adding that "totally it's a Brexit bandwidth problem, there's no two ways about that."

Coercive Control conviction without need for victim statement

Some very interesting news from Surrey this week of a conviction which shows the importance of practitioners' keeping notes when they see coercive control. This case relied on professionals working together to present the facts and prosecute without the victim's involvement.

Steven Saunders, 31, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for coercive and controlling behaviour against his partner. He had manipulated and controlled her to the extent of removing her from the safety of supported accommodation where she was living, forcing her to live on the streets. He spent her benefits, held her bank card and forced her to shoplift. He also sold her mobile phone. He did not want her to be seen alone by any professionals and displayed aggressive jealousy regarding the couple’s unborn child.

Saunders was finally brought to justice thanks to the intervention of a midwife and further evidence submitted from other medical professionals, social services and the police. They evidenced his behaviour, the disclosures his partner made and the fear she was under. All of this meant that charges could be brought against Saunders without the victim, who felt worn out and fearful of him, needing to give a statement.

Taking back control: how a remote island in Alaska is tackling domestic abuse

An interesting article in the Guardian this week looked at how a small, remote, rural community is responding to endemic domestic abuse.

St Paul Island is the largest of the Pribilof Islands which lie between the USA and Russia and is inhabited by an isolated community of around 500 people, mostly Alaska Natives from the Aleut People. National data shows about two out of three American Indian and Alaska Native women experience domestic violence, sexual and physical assaults in their lifetime, and on St Paul rates have traditionally been higher still; the tribe estimates that as many as 90% of the relationships on the island expose individuals to verbal or physical abuse.

Woman murdered by her daughter and grandson

Betty GuyI heard this case being discussed on the radio but nothing mentioned about the fact that this is an example of domestic abuse: the situation is familial and the murder happened because of the relationship within the family. Both perpetrators claimed it had been a mercy killing, although their victim was not terminally ill. 

Former nurse Betty Guy, 84, was given a cocktail of pills and whiskey by her daughter Penelope John and was then smothered with a pillow by her grandson Barry Rogers in November 2011. Mrs Guy's death was initially thought to be from natural causes and no post-mortem examination was carried out. However, Rogers and John came under suspicion four years later when an ex-partner of Rogers told police he said he had killed his grandmother by putting a pillow over her face. Officers installed covert recording equipment in John's home and recorded the two discussing the killing.

Vacancies with Elmore Community Services

Elmore Community ServicesElmore Community Services (ECS) is a registered charity providing high quality services for marginalised and disenfranchised people throughout Oxfordshire. They currently have two vacancies they'd like to share (closing date for both is February 25):

Researcher

Full or part time will be considered (minimum of 21 hours a week). £26,637 – £30,574 FTE. Fixed term contract to March 2019.

In November 2014 the Home Office released figures on Modern Slavery which estimated that between 10,000 and 13,000 victims exist in the UK, including 700-900 men, women and children in the Thames Valley region. This estimate has been critiqued in a recent report on “Estimating the Extent of Modern Slavery in Thames Valley region” and a methodology proposed for more accurate assessment. The purpose of this project is to obtain better data and information in order to understand the level of exploitation and trafficking in the city, where it takes place and how best we can address it.

Team Manager – ASCSE Team

Part-time, 18.75 hours a week (0.5 WTE), preferably worked as two full days (to include Fridays) and one morning, but some negotiation may be possible. Occasional ‘on-call’ during evenings and weekends may be required); £13,318 – £15,287 pro rata (£26,637 – £30,574 fte)

This role is to manage the Adult Survivors of CSE Team, but the post-holder will be expected to also provide some management support to other areas of work. The post-holder will be part of the Management Team covering the whole of Elmore Community Services.

Convictions show Sussex Police missed opportunities twice

Caroline DevlinThere were many critical articles this week about a double murderer finally facing justice. Robert Trigg, 52, from Sussex, was convicted and jailed for life last year for the murders of two of his partners but had initially been treated as a bereaved partner by Sussex Police on both occasions. Trigg was in a relationship with Caroline Devlin, 35, who was killed in 2006, and then with Susan Nicholson 52, who was killed in 2011. Ms Nicholson was suffocated by having her head forced into the bed and Ms Devlin's death was caused by a blow to the back of her head.

Susan NicholsonIn the four months leading up to Ms Nicholson’s murder, officers had been called to the flat she shared with Trigg six times and just two days before her murder he had been cautioned by police for punching her in the face. However, in spite of this history and past incidents of domestic abuse against previous partners police quickly ruled out foul play and the inquest into Ms Nicholson's death accepted that her death had been caused by Trigg's accidentally rolling onto her in his sleep while they were on a sofa. 

Victims being imprisoned

Andrea AlbuttJudges are locking up too many domestic violence victims due to a “lack of understanding", according to the president of the Prison Governors’ Association. Andrea Albutt (pictured) is calling for a reduction in the female prison population and for funds to be diverted to women’s refuges and drug addiction centres. 

Her fears that the state is failing women offenders were sparked by a report by the Prison Reform Trust, which revealed the majority (57%) of those jailed last year were domestic abuse victims. The trust found more than half (53%) of women in jail reported having experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse as a child, compared to 27% of men.

Learning event in Milton Keynes

MK ActMK Act is running a learning event on "Stalking, Harassment & Coercive abuse in the context of Domestic Abuse" on Wednesday February 21, 2018 from 13.30 to 16.30 (venue: Galley Hill Centre, Galley Hill, Milton Keynes, MK11 1PA)

This training is for individuals working with clients or the public within frontline statutory or voluntary sector services. It aims to increase delegates' understanding and awareness of:

  • Controlling and Coercive Behaviour 
  • Stalking and Harassment in the context of Domestic Abuse 
  • What is Stalking and Harassment
  • The Law
  • What Effect does Stalking and Harassment have on a victim?
  • What are the risks? 
  • Reducing the risk, support for the victim as well as knowing where to refer clients who are experiencing such Domestic Abuse  in Milton Keynes

Delegates must  have attended Domestic Abuse Awareness training prior to attending this course and there is a limit of a maximum of 3 participants from any one team or organisation per training session.

Voices of Male Victims

We don't often hear the voices of male victims of abuse from females but here is a video which gives us a chance.

We know that many victims face large hurdles in disclosing DA and men also find it difficult to open up about what they live with.

It is often said that many male abusers claim they are victims and this is one additional hurdle for genuine victims to cross. This video is from one study looking at those hard to reach victims who happen to be men. It is worth watching:

 

BBC Looks at DA in Russia

Behind closed doors, Russian society has a dark secret. It's estimated thousands of Russian women are murdered every year by their husbands or partners. Domestic violence is so deep-rooted in Russia there's even a well-known saying - “If he beats you, it means he loves you”.

Despite the scale of the problem, in February 2017 the Russian government decriminalised certain forms of domestic violence.

Training event with OSARCC

OSARCC: Oxford Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis CentreThis is your last chance to book onto Oxford Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Centre's upcoming training on "Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Violence" on Wednesday February 7 in Didcot Civic Hall.

1 in 5 women experience sexual violence at some point in their lives. The chances are that you will work with some of them.

Delivered by experienced representatives from Oxfordshire’s only specialist service for female survivors of sexual violence, this full-day training course will allow you to:

  • Gain an understanding of the reasons why a survivor may or may not disclose
  • Develop your skills to respond appropriately, considering impacts, safety and pathways
  • Explore the options available after disclosure following a four-strand empowerment model
  • Get clear on your responsibilities as an individual and as an organisation

2017 DA Champions' Survey Report

Reducing the Risk of Domestic AbuseWe are very pleased to announce that we had nearly 500 of our very busy DA Champs across the Thames Valley area and in Havering respond to our recent annual survey.

We would very much like to thank each and every one of you who managed to complete the survey.

We have now dissected off the responses and submitted them to local strategists so that it can feed into any local initiatives or decisions around local services.

Springboard Sessions in Oxford

Springboard: work and personal development for womenFollowing on from recent success, one of our DA Champions, Pat Miller, is now able to offer yet another Springboard course in Oxford in February. The Springboard Women’s Development Programme enables women to both give and receive more out of their lives; Pat has adapted it specifically to cater for women who have come out of abusive relationships.

So if you have a client who has moved on from domestic abuse but still facing hurdles in getting on with life, consider referring her to these extremely productive sessions. You can read more about the programme, its criteria and how to make a referral in our previous article.

DA Champ raising funds for Kenyan refuge

Taryn Lister is a DA Champion at A2 Dominion, who have provided DA services in Oxfordshire and West Berks (as well as other areas) for many years.

Taryn is currently trying to raise funds for a refuge in Kenya which supports the education of young girls and women who have survived sexual abuse and have nowhere else to go. They run entirely on donations and have started a new crowd fundraiser to raise much needed funding.

If you would like to know more about this difficult situation then please contact Taryn by email.

Domestic Abuse Summit 2018

Healthcare Conferences UKHere is news of a large conference planned for Friday May 4 in London which may interest many of you. They are offering our DA Champions a discount of 20% if you use the code HCUK20RRDA when booking.

The summit will focus on identifying and supporting people experiencing domestic abuse. It aims to bring together all members of multi agency teams working to improve services and support for domestic abuse, to understand current issues and the national context, to debate and discuss service developments and to learn from best practice examples and expertly led extended sessions. The conference will enable you to network with colleagues who are working to improve the identification and support of people experiencing domestic abuse and develop key strategies for working with perpetrators of domestic violence.

ISVA vacancy - OSARCC

OSARCCOxfordshire Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Centre (OSARCC) have a vacancy for an Independent Sexual Violence Advocate (maternity cover), Grade 6B, £26,934 - £28,617 per annum pro rata, 37 hours per week, based in Oxford. The deadline for applications is 17.00 on February 9.

The successful candidate will have experience and knowledge of working within the violence against women sector, a firm understanding of growing organisations, and the ability to work in a fast-paced environment. She will be committed to working in an organisation seeking to end violence against women and girls, and will be able to work efficiently and effectively, using her own initiative. OSARCC is an equal opportunities employer and encourages applications from candidates from all minority groups. This post is open to women only and is exempt under schedule 9 (Part 1) of the Equality Act 2010.

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