Domestic abuse in the news

A survivor of domestic abuse writes anonymously about her relationship in which "There were no fists, or boots, or trips to A&E – so it took me years to properly accept that I was being crushed by my relentlessly controlling partner". She talks in great detail about her journey and reflects upon what she learnt after getting away. (The Guardian)

On Valentine’s Day 2008, with a clarity that was long overdue, I left an abusive relationship. The hearts, the flowers, Barry White on the radio – they all brought things into sharp focus. For three years I’d been paralysed with doubt. That’s the insidiousness of it. By degrees, like a frog being boiled – before you know it, you’re soup.

The Australian Government is concentrating on educating youngsters about the attitudes towards women. The new campaign is aimed at teachers, parents and anybody who influences young people, to consider their attitude and language in how they address gender. (The Guardian)

“We are trying to hit directly at that attitudinal and habitual behaviour that sits in the mind of particularly young men and boys,” the social services minister,Christian Porter, told reporters.

We all appreciate the fact that stalking can be a very common issue within domestic abuse cases. This year's Stalking Awareness Week has seen a number of relevant newsworthy stories and reports regarding stalking, and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust reported this week that only half of stalking cases are reported to police. (The Guardian)

Rachel Griffin, director of the Suzy Lamplugh trust, said “We know from talking to victims that they often really struggle to have their stalking experience recognised by the police.

“One of the things we often hear on the helpline is that someone will have reported stalking, which often has an online element, and they’ll say: ‘The police have said just don’t check your emails or why are you still on the internet?’ It’s a cyber version of victim-blaming. Then you’ll have people who report that police said to them: ‘Come back when he does something.’”

All of us working in this area understand the complexity of housing in trying to address the needs for victims of domestic abuse. The most common issue is with a joint tenancy in social housing; the big question is often "stay or go" and what is really safer to do for the victim and his/her family. Of the 121 women who passed through Solace Women's Aid refuges in London last year, 22% had a secure tenancy on arrival but only 13% left with one. The majority had to move to temporary accommodation and hostels or stay with friends and family. This article looks in more detail at one particular case in which a victim had a long struggle with the civil courts to regain her home (which was under a joint tenancy) for her and her young daughter. (The Guardian)

“If the tenancy had been in my name initially I would not have lost so much; my possessions, my college course, my home and my stability,” says Amber.

Domestic abuse survivors are among those who risk homelessness if government plans to cap housing benefit go ahead. (The Guardian)

Polly Neate, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said the cap would undermine government plans to put specialist domestic abuse refuges on a financially sustainable footing. “An estimated 12,000 women will stay in refuge every year, more often than not, with their children,” she said. “Uncertainty about the future of housing benefit payments is already directly impacting on services plans for the future and a risk to the future of refuge provision is a risk to women and children’s lives."

Potential cuts to frontline services may put abuse victims at risk, one Police and Crime Commissioner warns. (The Guardian)

The most vulnerable victims of violent crimes, including abused women and refugees, are being put at a greater risk over uncertainty in funding to frontline services, officials have warned in a letter to the government. Police and crime commissioners (PCCs) from across England have called on the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to provide urgent clarification of the grants available to victims’ services.

One of our Champions, Colette, pointed out that this research paper has been making national headlines in the Guardian. (The Guardian)

Women are bearing the brunt of an invisible rise in violent crime, a new analysis shows. Domestic violence and violence against women have increased since 2009, researchers found, pushing up overall levels of violent crime.

The findings contradict the official message that violent crime has been in decline since the mid-90s. They also begin to challenge the assertion that men are the most likely victims; violent crime against men continues to fall.

(The Guardian)

In 2013, 86 women in Britain were killed by a husband, a boyfriend or a male ex-partner. A new documentary by Vanessa Engle tells the story of every one of them by giving voice to the traumatised families left behind.

(College of Policing newsletter)

The Mayor of London and Commissioner of the Metropolitan police today confirmed that plans to introduce police body worn video to all frontline police officers are moving ahead, as a new report finds strong public support for the cameras. They did not alter the quality of policing and offered officers greater confidence if challenged, as well as footage to support their decision-making in domestic abuse cases.

Gender and domestic abuse hit the headlines in Australia. (The Guardian)

The premier of Queensland has been warned not to recognise male victims of domestic violence at the expense of women after she said she had changed her language to include male victims. [...] Karyn Walsh, the CEO of Micah Projects which runs the Brisbane Domestic Violence Service, said there was no problem in acknowledging male victims of violence, as long as the issue of domestic violence was approached as a gendered one.