Domestic violence in the news this week
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Labour’s Yvette Cooper has spoken out to say that the Government is “turning its back” on domestic abuse victims.
The shadow home secretary has pointed to “deeply worrying” data suggesting more frequent use of community resolutions to handle domestic violence cases.
Community resolutions are used by police to resolve low-level or minor offences through “informal agreement between the parties involved” rather than through the courts.
Labour has promised to ban the use of these resolutions – which can include apologies or compensation – for domestic violence. Ms Cooper said: “For the police to simply take a violent abuser home to apologise, risks making domestic violence worse and even harder for victims to escape a cycle of abuse.”
In 15 police forces questioned by Labour under the Freedom of Information Act, the use of community resolutions for these cases has more than doubled in four years – 6,861 in 2012/2013, compared with 1,337 in 2009.
Ms Cooper said: “Domestic violence is an incredibly serious crime. Two women a week are killed by their partner or an ex and 750,000 children will grow up witnessing domestic violence.”
Of course, it’s not just women who suffer domestic violence. Around 800,000 men in the country are victims of domestic violence in comparison to 1.2 million women. Yet, the UK has only 33 dedicated male refuge spaces compared to the 4,000 available to women.
Stephen Potts, a fundraising consultant involved in Cornwall’s first all-male refuge, Norda House, to be opened this August, says that male domestic violence is on the increase.
Here’s the story of how we supported one of our customers:
All he wanted was a quiet life and to take his dog for a walk around his neighbourhood but when he realised that his son was taking drugs, 83-year-old John* was faced with a choice.
Being a loving dad he had always done his best for his three boys but after years of helping his youngest he realised that something wasn’t right. His 40-year-old son had always asked for money to pay his rent and bills but these requests were getting more frequent and when John found empty plastic zip bags he became suspicious; he decided to confront his son.
During a brief argument, John was attacked and was knocked to the floor after being kicked in the hip by his angry son. Upset and in pain, he eventually handed over the money.
This continued for about two years with John’s mental health being seriously affected by the physical abuse that he was suffering at the hands of his son.
Eventually, the situation reached crisis point when John was admitted to hospital after being stabbed in the back of the neck. His son was subsequently arrested and John was referred to Bromford for support.
Our support worker, Brad Tonks who received specialist training from Women’s Aid, worked closely with both the police and John to ensure that a safeguarding plan was in place to protect John from becoming a victim again.
Brad worked in partnership with other agencies such as social services to ensure John could continue to live independently and safely in his own home. Help was also given in dealing with debt letters and threats of court action that had accumulated due to his son’s addiction and inability to manage his money.
Following the intervention of our innovative support service, John’s son is now receiving help and support to try and tackle his drug and alcohol issues.
John stills receives telephone support when needed and now feels safe in his own home. The help that he has received enables him to continue to live independently.