Domestic abuse in the news

Survivors of intimate partner violence suffer traumatic brain injuries at alarming rates. Yet science overlooks us.

THE FIRST TIME my then-partner threw me against a wall, I blamed myself. I was late coming home from work, and I hadn’t even greeted him when I walked through our door. I immediately started complaining about the unwashed dishes and food scraps littering our kitchen. He was angry, shouting at me, and then I felt his arms around me, lifting me slightly. I blacked out when the back of my head hit the kitchen wall.

This case looks at a vulnerable old lady being financially abused by her granddaughter. It resulted in the offender being sentenced to two years, suspended for 20 months. Evans-Schreiber also has to do 150 hours unpaid work and attend an alcohol treatment programme for six months. (BBC News)

A former model and fashion designer has been given a suspended sentence for stealing £230,251 from her grandmother who had dementia.

Emily Evans-Schreiber, 38, of Naseby, Northamptonshire, pleaded guilty to theft at Northampton Crown Court. The court heard she spent the money on holidays and designer clothes but avoided serving time because she was the sole carer for her young child. Judge Rebecca Crane said the sentence was a "second chance".

This article debates the planned use of polygraphs for convicted domestic abusers. Individuals who fit the bill will be tested after being released for three months and then regularly every 6 months after. If they refuse or it is felt that their risk has increased, they can be returned to prison. (BBC News)

Domestic violence offenders in England and Wales could face compulsory lie-detector tests when released from prison under proposed new laws.

Those deemed at high risk of re-offending will be given regular polygraph tests to find out if they have breached release conditions.

The long-awaited Domestic Violence Bill will also specify that controlling a victim's finances can count as abuse.

Alleged abusers will also be banned from cross-examining victims in court.

Barnardo's has published a report looking at the hidden impact of domestic abuse on children and young people in areas including: mental health; child development; harmful sexual behaviour; future cycles of abuse and youth offending.

The Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) has published a report examining the evidence relating to the prevalence, impact and treatment of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), the extent to which ACEs should provide the basis for frontline practice and service design, and the known level of effectiveness and value of ACE-related approaches. The report finds that the popularity of the ACE narrative should not ignore the limitations in the evidence base or create the illusion there are quick fixes to prevent adversity or help people overcome it. 

The government will provide £16.6m for projects across England to support victims of domestic abuse and their children, it has been announced. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: "Domestic abuse destroys lives and leaves victims living in fear in their own homes – the place where they should feel most safe and secure...No victim of domestic abuse should have to struggle to get the right support, or wait months for help that they need. This new funding of £16.6m will help local areas better protect victims and their children and provide essential life-saving services, delivering the urgent support that they need to rebuild their lives." (Children & Young People Now)

The money, provided by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, will go towards a total of 75 projects run by local authorities with the aim of helping up to 43,000 survivors of domestic abuse.

The largest individual sum, £974,540, will go to Hart District Council, in South East England, which led on a bid on behalf of 11 district councils in Hampshire, as well as Hampshire County Council and Dorset Council.

Lancashire County Council will receive £878,208, Westminster City Council will get £796,000, and Waltham Forest has been awarded £749,312.

The Drive Project launched in April 2016 and has been piloted in three areas across England and Wales (Essex, South Wales and West Sussex) from 2016-2019. It has been developed and run as part of a partnership between Respect, SafeLives, and Social Finance in collaboration with the PCCs, local authorities, and service providers with additional funding from the Home Office, and delivered by DVIP (division of Richmond Fellowship), Hampton Trust, Safer Merthyr Tydfil, and the Change Project. The evaluation work was funded by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales.

This interesting article questions how the UK responds to so called "Honour" based abuse. The actor Sunekra Sarker says, “The problem is we feel very comfortable talking about British traditions, but when it comes to cultures that believe in forced marriage or justify honour-based abuse, we sort of shy away from it, because we don’t really know and it’s not our culture, so we don’t want to be seen to say it’s wrong because we’re so worried about being condemned for it". (Bigg Issue North)

Liverpool actor Sunetra Sarker has called on storytellers working in TV and radio not to shy away from tackling “honour-based” abuse and FGM in their work, saying discussion and representation “validates” the experience of victims and can give them strength to speak out.

This article reports on a recent conviction in Birmingham where the defendant received a 7 year sentence. It also shows the coercive nature and pressure of so called "honour" based abuse. (BBC News)

A man has been jailed for seven years for attempting to force his niece into an arranged marriage with another man at gunpoint during a trip in Pakistan.

The victim travelled there in 2016 and the man kept her prisoner by taking her passport, Birmingham Crown Court heard. This followed a period of abuse back in Birmingham where the victim had been frequently "savagely beaten" by him.

This article looks at steps to eradicate FGM in Africa; we know that this is not just an African issue but it is a huge start. The United Nations has a target to end the practice globally by 2030. (Guardian Online)

I underwent female genital mutilation at the age of seven, while on holiday in Djibouti. When I returned to school in the UK my teacher told me that this happened to “girls like me”.

Thankfully, this type of reaction is no longer common, and this country is much better equipped to protect girls at risk. FGM is now seen as a global issue, which we know has affected more than 200 million women and girls around the world.