Domestic abuse in the news

The Sentencing Council, following a recent public consultation, has now published a definitive guideline on intimidatory offences which will come into effect on 1 October 2018.

The guideline covers harassment, stalking, disclosing private sexual images, controlling or coercive behaviour and threats to kill. 

We often see and hear of victims feeling unsupported and misunderstood in Family Courts. They regularly claim that staff did not appreciate their situation nor understand what they were suffering and not as aware as other agencies seem. This petition aims to introduce mandatory DA awareness training in those courts- sign it if you feel it is necessary. Click the link to see the options and how your signature could make a difference. (HM Government Petition)

The Judiciary, Cafcass & Family court to be fully trained in domestic abuse, gas lighting, coercive control, stalking, sexual abuse, financial abuse, emotional abuse, harassment and its effects on the Family. 

70-90% of Family court & Cafcass cases involve DA. 

Training would enable informed decisions.

Some positive turns, at last! (Daily Mirror)

Domestic violence victims won a victory today as the Tories finally abandoned funding reforms after a three-year fight. In a major U-turn, ministers ditched a shake-up to women’s refuge funding after being warned it would risk women's lives.

It ends a dispute that began in November 2015 when welfare-slashing George Osborne vowed to cap housing benefit for "supported housing" — used by more than 700,000 people — at the market rate. Theresa May backed out of that plan in October 2017 after campaigners warned homes for the frail and elderly would shut.

This is such a regular issue within the criminal justice system. It isn't just not turning up at court though, victims are faced with the emotional blackmail from their family and friends and take on the "guilt" for cases being proceeded with. This is so very wrong and needs to be recognised better when it happens. (Guardian Online)

Defendants are “gaming the system” in specialist domestic violence courts by intimidating partners into not appearing in the expectation that magistrates will drop charges, a critical report has said.

The report, commissioned by the police and crime commissioner for Northumbria, Dame Vera Baird QC, was based on the monitoring more than 220 cases in the north-east of England. It suggests those in which the complainant does not appear are dismissed too readily and that criminal justice services are under-resourced.

There is a very interesting report which shows, just as with domestic abuse, that awareness increases reporting and convictions. Domestic abuse and slavery offences do overlap- so take a look at this report (Crown Prosecution Website)

Charges for modern slavery offences have risen by more than a quarter in the last year according to figures published today (9 August) by the Crown Prosecution Service.  

In 2017/18, 239 suspects were charged with modern slavery offences, a 27 per cent rise from the year before.

And referrals to the CPS from police and other agencies have also risen by a third to 355 – the highest ever recorded. The increase, which has been part of a dedicated drive to clamp down on slavery related crime, has also seen 185 modern slavery and human trafficking convictions in 2017/18.

This guide is for parents living in temporary accommodation.

It’s written by parents who’ve experienced temporary accommodation and can understand what you’re going through. We’ve included some tips to help you settle in, ideas for keeping your children healthy and happy, and ways to look after yourself.

This is a very important enquiry and the link below allows anybody to engage and respond to it by submitting a written submission BEFORE 5th September 2018. (Guardian Online)

MPs have called for an overhaul of the way universal credit is paid, to minimise the risk of it being used by domestic abusers as a way of exerting financial control over their partners.

Great to hear that a big organisation is thinking of how their members can properly support somebody fleeing domestic abuse. Especially with a stretched health service - well done RCN. (RCN Website)

In March this year, nurses and midwives became "qualifying officers" who can attest a person’s request to be registered anonymously on the electoral register. Now new guidance has been published for nurses and midwives who are supporting victims of domestic abuse, or related safeguarding issues, to help them register to vote anonymously in elections.

This is yet another example of domestic abuse and a victim feeling failed by a court. This brave lady wanted to tell her story to help others open up about what happens to them. She works as a GP but had previously worked in prisons. (Runcorn and Widnes World)

Gary Dougherty pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced at Chester Crown Court on Friday to eight months suspended for two years. He was also sentenced to 20 days of rehabilitation, 120 hours of unpaid work and a restraining order was imposed for five years. Dr Dougherty has spoken out to encourage other victims to seek help: "I am one of the lucky ones. I didn't realise how many good friends I have in Widnes. It must be 10 times worse for women who are financially dependent on their partner or have children. I can understand why they don't leave their homes but help is available."

Much of the research into the impact on children of living in households with domestic abuse, parental substance misuse and mental health is from the perspective of adults – with limited insights from children themselves. We wanted to hear directly from children what it was like to live in these households.