Domestic abuse in the news

We hear a lot more in recent years (though much more awareness is needed) of FGM and the dangers it poses. The Guardian are reporting on this new practice which is being carried out on young girls in the UK to reduce unwanted male attention. They suggest that there is anecdotal evidence of this terrible abuse happening among the diaspora of several African countries. (The Guardian Online)

An African practice of “ironing” a girl’s chest with a hot stone to delay breast formation is spreading in the UK, with anecdotal evidence of dozens of recent cases, a Guardian investigation has established.

Community workers in London, Yorkshire, Essex and the West Midlands have told the Guardian of cases in which pre-teen girls from the diaspora of several African countries are subjected to the painful, abusive and ultimately futile practice.

There has been much in the press about the draft Bill being discussed in parliament (as well as Brexit). This document explains the basis for the legislation, the consultation process and also the draft proposals set out in the Bill. 

There are a number of changes from redefining domestic abuse and creating a clear statutory definition across the UK. They are also developing DVPN's to become Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and Orders with stronger sanctions if breached.

This is only the fourth prosecution of its kind in the UK but the first time anyone has been convicted. (BBC News website)

The mother of a three-year-old girl has become the first person in the UK to be found guilty of female genital mutilation (FGM). The 37-year-old woman, from east London, was convicted following a trial at the Old Bailey. Her 34-year-old partner was acquitted by the jury.

It is great to hear about those in positions to manage the risk of domestic abuse being trained in the issues. So often we hear from victims that courts did not seem to appreciate what they were coping with or understand what they had suffered. Maybe Scotland is leading the way! (Express & Star Website)

All judges and sheriffs in Scotland will be given specific training on domestic abuse, it has been announced.

The training will be provided ahead of the introduction of legislation which will create a new offence which criminalises physical and psychological abuse of partners or ex-partners.

This is great news if this practice is going to be spread to all criminal courts but what about including family courts too? The criminal justice process is very daunting but sometimes the civil route can be extremely intimidating too (National Centre for Domestic Violence)

Measures in a pilot scheme which has helped increase prosecutions in domestic abuse cases are being introduced across England and Wales from January.

They include ensuring victims: can visit court before the trial: have the option of giving evidence behind a screen: and are allocated an independent domestic abuse advisor. The intention is to give victims more support in court.

This article highlights an interesting situation in the US at present. The current Whitehouse administration appears to be downgrading domestic abuse. This drive to disconnect the invisible types of DA from the violence is in contrast to current proposed changes to UK legislation in the Draft Bill being discussed at the moment. (Salon News Website)

The Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women quietly but significantly redefined what it considers “domestic violence” and “sexual assault,” Natalie Nanasi wrote in Slate.

Nanasi, director of the Judge Elmo B. Hunter Legal Center for Victims of Crimes Against Women at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, pointed out that the moves were quietly made in back in April but could have significant repercussions for millions of domestic violence and sexual assault victims.

This tragic episode relates to a 21 year old American killing his girlfriend and her brother and their father as well as his own parents. Shocking and very sad. (CNN Website)

The young man accused of killing five people in Louisiana was arrested Sunday morning in Richmond County, Virginia, after briefly pointing a weapon at deputies, Sheriff Steve Smith said.

The deputies had been called to the home of a member of Dakota Theriot's family to check on the residence when Theriot pulled up in a vehicle with a gun pointed out the window, Smith said. The deputies sought cover and Theriot dropped the weapon on their commands. He was then arrested. "He seemed a little tired, a little worn," Smith told CNN.

The article below outlines some of the new inclusions to the definition of domestic abuse as part of the current overhaul. (BBC news)

Non-physical and economic abuse are to be included in the first legal definition of domestic abuse as part of a landmark overhaul of the law.

Under the draft laws, a wide range of measures will also include domestic abusers being banned from cross-examining victims in family courts.

The home secretary said the changes would "bolster protection for victims".

Campaigners say the measures are a "once in a generation" opportunity to combat the impact of abuse.

To read the full article please click here.

Public Health England (PHE) has published good practice guidance, safeguarding children affected by parental alcohol and drug use December 2018

The PHE parental alcohol and drug use toolkit provides local authority level estimates of the numbers of children affected by parental dependent use of opiates and alcohol. It details the numbers of parents and children already known to alcohol and drug treatment services, which allows local authorities to see if the needs of alcohol and opiate dependent parents are being met in their area.