Domestic abuse in the news

Female survivors of domestic abuse are at double the risk of developing long-term illnesses that cause widespread bodily pain and extreme tiredness, shows a study by the Universities of Birmingham and Warwick.

Published today, Friday 6 December, in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, the research shows that women who have experienced domestic abuse are almost twice as likely to develop fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) than those who have not.

In 1990 a letter appeared in The Lancet: “A 76-year-old woman was admitted to hospital unconscious after being found at home with multiple injuries. She had rib fractures, multiple bruises and abrasions to the head, and signs of left-sided weakness. She had a history of a stroke and had become demented over the past few years, this manifesting predominantly as memory loss and mental confusion. Relatives told us that her husband had been violent towards her for many years, particularly in relation to his drinking, and the patient had often been seen with cuts and bruises.”

Researchers at Cardiff University have published findings from research looking at dating and relationship violence among 11–16 year olds in Wales.

A survey of 74,908 students from 193 schools across Wales found that, of young people who reported having experience of dating: 17% of boys and 12% of girls said that they had experienced physical violence by a romantic partner at least once; and 28% of girls reported emotional victimisation compared to 20% of boys.

Analysis of the overlap between victimisation and perpetration found that physical violence tended to go in one direction, with most victims not reporting perpetration. Emotional violence by contrast was commonly more reciprocal, perhaps reflecting a tendency for more mutual emotional conflict within many young people’s relationships.

The death of Grace Millane has highlighted a dramatic rise in the number of murder cases in which ‘rough sex’ is the defence. Now women are speaking out, sharing their stories and campaigning for a change in the law (Guardian Online)

In the first 48 hours after the guilty verdict in the Grace Millane murder case, Fiona Mackenzie received 50 interview requests from the media in the UK, US and New Zealand. In the previous week, as Millane’s killer claimed she had died in a “sex game gone wrong”, Mackenzie, founder of We Can’t Consent to This, which campaigns against the “rough sex” defence, had managed to recruit a voluntary press officer to help with the deluge.

Baroness Scotland has long been an active campaigner against domestic abuse in all its forms. She is often quoted as saying, “If we don’t have peace in our homes, we are very unlikely to have peace in our world”. As the new (and first female) Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations (formerly the British Commonwealth), she has highlighted that only two-thirds of countries around the world have outlawed domestic violence. Among Commonwealth countries, 47 have legislation, but 33 do not explicitly criminalise marital rape and only nine offer broad protections for LGBT people. (Reuters News)

The Commonwealth announced on Monday — International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women — that it was teaming up with the NO MORE Foundation, a global movement of 1,400 organizations working to stop domestic and sexual abuse.

Some 1.1 billion women and girls live in the Commonwealth, a loose alliance of mostly former British colonies.

The report furthers insights into the scope, distinct nature of abuse and barriers experienced by LGBT+ survivors in access to services, increases knowledge of LGBT+ survivors accessing LGBT+ specialist services and highlights the value and role of LGBT+ specialist programmes in addressing domestic abuse.

LGBT+ people have a lived experience of prejudice and discrimination, where in law, policy and practice, it is our recent history not only to have our needs not included, but our lives actively discriminated against for who we are and who we love. Galop’s history is rooted in our communities’ activism to combat this and for over 35 years, Galop has worked to make life ‘Just, Safe and Fair’ for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT+) victims and survivors. 

Domestic abuse affects children in several ways.

This means a range of interventions are needed across local areas to make sure that every child gets the specialist help they need. For example, some children may require therapeutic support, provided by a trained professional, and delivered through talking or play, depending on each individual child.

Our own service, Breaking the Cycle, offers therapeutic one-to-one counselling to improve children’s emotional wellbeing. Psychoeducational programmes can also be invaluable, helping each child to learn about domestic abuse and develop coping skills

Sadly this is yet another case which finally ended only after a long series of incidents. There may of course be good reasons why cases do not poceed yet each case is a warning of what may well happen in the future. Some may say hindsight is a wonderful gift but we all need to focus a lot more on foresight. (The Independent)

olice received a string of domestic abuse reports about a man who later beat and stabbed his girlfriend, investigators have revealed.

Derbyshire Constabulary is being probed by the police watchdog over its handling of the case, which eventually saw Aaron Booth attack his partner with a kitchen knife after a campaign of bullying behaviour.

Booth was jailed for 14 years in October after he broke into Zahra Rechelle’s home in Glossop, beat her nearly unconscious and knifed her five times in front of police officers who had responded to the victim’s frantic 999 call.

A court was told that during their relationship Booth would “bully and degrade [Ms Rechelle] by spitting, flicking cigarettes or throwing household items at her, as well as calling her names”.

The sub header on this article sums it all up. Domestic violence is a key cause of women experiencing homelessness and cuts mean services to protect them have been destroyed. Why did Sharron Maasz, a much-loved outreach worker, end up dying homeless herself? (Guardian Online)

I first came across Sharron Maasz in January this year when I watched her being interviewed on a number of videos on YouTube. I discovered them after hearing that a woman had died in accommodation designated for women experiencing homelessness in my home city of Oxford. Sharron was 44 years old.

She was popular and, according to those who knew her, warm, kind, compassionate and loving. Sharron was a mother and a grandmother. She died after a long period of experiencing homelessness in Oxford, the city where we were both born and raised, and which we both called home. Later, through devastated mutual friends, I learned that we attended the same school; our paths never crossed as she was older than me, and we ended up living very different lives.

'Just because you are on the streets doesn’t mean you are a piece of rubbish,' Sharron says to camera. 'It just breaks my heart'

Aylesbury Crown Court (ACC), located in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire within the Thames Valley Police force area, rolled out a pilot protocol ‘PROTOCOL FOR THE HANDLING OF DOMESTIC ABUSE CASES AT AYLESBURY CROWN COURT’ on the 20th November 2017 to improve the average length that DA cases spend in the Criminal Justice System (CJS) within that area. The agencies involved in the protocol include ACC themselves, Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service, Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Thames Valley Police (TVP) and the Witness Care Unit (WCU).

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