Domestic abuse in the news

This welcome initiative will allow those suffering domestic abuse in lockdown somewhere safe to go for help. Our good friends at UK Says No More have been working with some national and local pharmacy providers to ensure help is available. This link will also highlight which shops are "DA Aware" and able to offer support and help. It also links to posters for pharmacies to display and advises on Hestia's Bright Sky phone app. (UK Says No More)

What is a Safe Space?

During COVID-19, if you are experiencing domestic abuse, we understand that home is not safe.

UK SAYS NO MORE is working with with Boots UK, Superdrug pharmacies, Morrisons pharmacies and independent pharmacies that have signed up to the Safe Spaces scheme, to facilitate their pharmacy consultancy rooms as a Safe Space for victims of domestic abuse during COVID-19.

In 2019, the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) gave advice or support in 1,355 cases related to a possible forced marriage.

This figure includes contact that has been made to the FMU through the public helpline or by email in relation to a new case. It does not include general enquiries.

Between 2011 and 2018, the FMU provided advice and support in an average of 1,359 cases per year. The number of cases in 2019 represents a 10% decrease on 2018 cases but is in line with the average number of cases per year since 2011.

Whilst there are some studies examining the prevalence and impact of brain injury for women in sports and military services, the link between brain injury and domestic abuse has not been explored to the same extent.

Research, however, from the United States showed that of a sample of men and women who were referred to a traumatic brain injury clinic from either a women’s or family domestic abuse shelter, 88% reported having sustained more than one brain injury. Profoundly, only 21% visited a physician or medical professionals after their injury . 

This has come about after authorities identified a rise in cases during lockdown. It was only in 2016 that China passed its first law on domestic abuse, giving partners new protections and this initiative will prove a further step. (The Guardian)

The city of Yiwu in eastern China is set to begin a pilot programme that allows residents to check whether their partner has a history of domestic abuse before getting married.

According to a notice on the Yiwu government website, the city will on 1 July unveil a searchable database that includes the information of offenders from across the country, those who have been convicted, subjected to restraining orders or sentenced to detention over domestic violence since 2017.

This 38min podcast is an informative conversation between two highly qualified social care academics about coercive control in a COVID19 lockdown. (Association of Child Protection Professionals )

Dr Emma Katz is a leading research specialist in the harms caused by perpetrators to mothers and children in the context of domestic abuse.

She is a Senior Lecturer in Childhood and Youth at Liverpool Hope University and has won multiple awards for her research, including the Corinna Seith Prize, awarded by Women Against Violence Europe in 2016.

This article is a great initiative aimed at letting worried neighbours know who to turn to. If anyone is concerned for their neighbours during lockdown (or after), they need to report it and get them the right support. (Victims First Website)

Victims First has launched a campaign with national charity Crimestoppers to raise awareness of domestic abuse and the support available to victims. 

The Financial Times is highlighting the need for employers to offer the right support to retain staff suffering from abuse in their private lives. Workplaces may be the only safe place that they are permitted to attend without supervision and control. (Financial Times)

Working in protection and firearms had risks but nonetheless Sally Benatar’s policing career was a refuge.

Our friends at the NRPF Network have highlighted a recent legal challenge which has resulted in a change to government guidance for those with no recourse to public funds who are suffering destitution.The Local Government Association (LGA) has called for people with no recourse to public funds to be able to access the benefit safety-net in order to ensure that all residents can receive sufficient support and avoid falling into destitution whilst the Covid-19 pandemic is ongoing. (NRPF Network)

Grounds on which Home Office must grant recourse to public funds extended ​

The Home Office has extended the criteria for granting recourse to public funds to people who apply for leave to remain on the family or private li​fe routes, following a legal challenge brought by an eight year old British child in the case of R (W) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department & Anor [2020] EWHC 1299 (Admin). 

It has long been felt that there are big differences in the support offered to victims of DA in Criminal Courts compared to any subsequent Family Court appearances. Survivors of domestic abuse and their children will receive greater protections following an overhaul of how the family courts deal with DA. This will mean: more victims to receive special protections in court, stronger powers for judges to prevent abusers repeatedly dragging a victim back to court and new investigative court process trialled to reduce conflict. There is also an upcoming pilot of Integrated Domestic Abuse Courts. This could see judges decide what evidence to investigate, rather than both parties presenting their cases against each other. (HM Government Website)

Sweeping reforms will see more victims of domestic abuse given access to separate building entrances and waiting rooms as well as protective screens to shield them from their alleged abuser in court. 

Ministers will also make it easier for judges to issue barring orders which prevent abusive ex-partners from repeatedly dragging their victims back to court – which can be used as a form of continuing domestic abuse. 

Special Guardianship Orders are an important part of safeguarding children, if used effectively in Family Courts. This is a message from the President of the Family Division regarding the publication of a new report from the Public Law Working group which gives new recommendations for best practice. This includes better training for Special Guardians as well as a renewed emphasis on parental contact. (Judiciary Website)

Since its addition to the canon of orders that are available to the Family Court in 2005, the role of a Special Guardianship Order has changed and developed. It is plain that SGO’s have a useful role to play, and are the right order to make in the right case; but which are the ‘right’ cases, how are professionals and the courts to spot them and how can the system best support any special guardians who are appointed?