Scottish parliament reviewing domestic violence laws

A Bill is being drafted in the Scottish parliament to amend the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986 to allow contributions of civil legal aid in certain proceedings arising from domestic abuse. The bill has been proposed by Rhoda Grant MSP. This is to allow more victims of domestic violence to access legal aid to be represented in court. Many of these victims may have be experiencing financial abuse and may no longer work due to either mental health issues or their partner’s refusal to allow them access to work.

The Bill also introduces a new section into the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. The purpose of this new section is to remove the requirement to show a course of conduct before a non-harassment order can be granted in civil proceedings involving domestic abuse. Instead, the bill makes it competent for the court to grant a non-harassment order after one instance of harassing behaviour. Many campaigners welcome this new legislation.

Additionally legislation in Scotland seeks to prosecute offenders who perpetrate psychological abuse towards their victims. Politicians and women’s groups involved in pushing for and creating the legislation have said they recognise the terrible effects non-physical abuse can have on victims that can be long lasting and wide ranging effects.

An article in the Glasgow Herald covering legislation can be accessed here.

A BBC news report covers debate in the Scottish parliament is available here.

Paper published on results of pilot training on domestic violence and child safeguarding for GPs

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Dr Natalia Lewis, Research Fellow, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol

GPs provide health care for multiple members of the same family including victims and perpetrators of domestic violence and their children. Children’s exposure to domestic violence can cause harm, yet many clinicians remain uncertain of their responsibilities towards child patients in cases of domestic violence. To address such professional uncertainty, a multidisciplinary research team developed and piloted an evidence-based training on domestic violence and child safeguarding for general practice – RESPONDS

An overview, training pack and publications related to RESPONDS are available here

You can download the full text paper here

Researchers piloted the RESPONDS training with 88 clinicians in 11 GP practices in the south of England and the Midlands. Evaluation of the pilot training through 37 repeated questionnaires, 15 interviews and 11 observations produced mixed results. On one hand, the training was well received; clinicians’ knowledge and confidence/self-efficacy regarding domestic violence and child safeguarding improved post-training. On the other hand, beliefs and attitudes of some clinicians remained unchanged. Evidence of a change in clinical practice was rare, but one GP reported increased confidence in ‘discussing this with children, you know, being able to ask them how it was affecting them’. There could be varied reasons for such mixed results, including the limitations of the scope of pilot training and of the study methods.

Participants suggested improvements to the training, such as using more socially diverse scenarios and discussing cases of families with multiple needs. Training participants also suggested addressing multi-agency work in the context of changing and under-resourced referral services.

The authors conclude that the development and piloting of this evidence-based training is a crucial first step towards strengthening the response to all family members experiencing or perpetrating domestic violence and their children. They also argue that the RESPONDS training requires further refinement, integration with existing training on general practice response to domestic violence, and more rigorous evaluation. The development and testing of such an integrated general practice-based domestic violence intervention is underway as part of the REPROVIDE programme

Please find details of the REPROVIDE programme here

Related outputs

Why GPs need training about domestic violence and children: you can access a blog discussing this topic here

Call for national guidance to help GPs document domestic violence: you can access here

General practice clinicians’ perspectives on involving and supporting children and adult perpetrators in families experiencing domestic violence and abuse. You can download this paper here

Disclaimer

The RESPONDS project is independent research commissioned and funded by the Department of Health Policy Research Programme (Bridging the Knowledge and Practice Gap between Domestic Violence and Child Safeguarding: Developing Policy and Training for General Practice, 115/0003). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the Department of Health.

New UK Department of Health guidance on domestic violence

 

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A new document has been published by the Department of Health in the UK as a resource for NHS staff and other professionals working with people who have experienced domestic violence. The document is called ‘Responding to domestic abuse: a resource for health professionals.’ The resource looks at how health professionals can support adults and young people over 16 who are experiencing domestic abuse, and dependent children in their households.

It aims to help health staff to identify potential victims, initiate sensitive routine enquiry and respond effectively to disclosures of abuse. Commissioners will gain insight into services to support people experiencing domestic violence and abuse, and the importance of joined-up local strategic planning.

The resource draws on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence multi-agency guidelines on domestic violence and abuse, and provides:

  • the legal and policy contexts of domestic abuse in England
  • information for commissioners on effective integrated care pathways
  • information for service providers on shaping service delivery
  • what health practitioners need to know and do
  • information to ensure the right pathway and services are in place locally

The new guidance document can be downloaded here.

Worcester University Conference on the impact of violence and abuse on children and young people

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Worcester University are planning a conference on 5 – 6th June 2017 hosted alongside the National Centre for the Study and Prevention of Violence and Abuse (NCSPVA). The focus of the 2017 annual conference is on examining the intersections of childhood and adulthood within the context of violence and abuse. The aim of this conference is to further the understanding of evidence based practice through reflection on developments to date, and the future needs of children growing up within a context of violence. To this end the conference will host a number of keynote presentations and individual oral and poster presentations that will showcase regional, national and international research and practice innovations relating to childhood and violence and safeguarding within this context. The organisers wish to invite all those who work with this issue to attend in order to network and share best practice and to engage in conversations to further evidence based practice.

Please find the link for the conference website here including key note speakers, costs and booking details.

To call or email for further information please contact:

Esther Dobson on 01905 54 2711 or edobson@worc.ac.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guardian article responds to controversial comments made by retiring judge on women’s drinking habits and rape

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The Guardian have published criticisms made by the Northumbria police and crime commissioner Dame Vera Baird in response to comments made by a retiring judge Lindsey Kushnar. Judge Kushman said victims of rape who had been drinking are less likely to be believed than those who were sober. Dame Vera Baird believes the comments made by judge Kushman were ‘victim blaming’ and may stop women coming forward to the police if they were raped and had been drinking. The full article is available here

 

 

Paper on Reconsidering Perpetrator Typologies by Professor David Gadd

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david.gadd@manchester.ac.uk

Practitioners working with men who are violent towards women will routinely encounter men who claim the causes of their behaviour are unique or specific to a relationship that has gone wrong. Such claims must be treated with caution and read against the backcloth of victim testimonies that reveal a continuum of violence in very many women’s lives. But neither can they be dismissed outright as there is ample evidence of diversity among perpetrator populations in terms of the intentions behind their violence, the pattern it takes, and the life circumstances that have led up to it.

Typological approaches to domestic violence have been developed in large part to assist practitioners identify differences in their client groups and to help them find ways to target their interventions to better effect. Two approaches have predominated in the literature. The first might be considered a typology of violent scenarios and is most associated with Michael Johnson’s (2006) book; the second is a typology of abusive personality types and is most closely associated with the work of Amy Holtzworth-Munroe and her collaborators (Holtzworth-Munroe & Stuart, 1994; Holzworth-Munroe and Meehan; Holzworth-Munroe et al, 2000). The first approach differentiates between violence that is ‘Situational Couple’ or ‘Separation-Instigated’ – neither of which are said to implicate gendered power differentials – and Coercively Controlling ‘Intimate Terrorism’ and ‘Violent Resistance’ – both of which do. The second approach differentiates between perpetrators classified as 1) ‘Family-Only’ 2) ‘Dysphoric-Borderline’ and 3) ‘Generally Violent-Antisocial’. Some commentators suggest that the personality types can be mapped onto the violent scenarios: the violence of family-only batterers is more sporadic and context-specific and hence typically ‘situational couple’ or ‘separation-instigated’, while dysphoric-borderline and violent-antisocial batterers frequently engage in severe forms of violence, often for reasons that are underpinned by misogynistic,  conservative or patriarchal values articulated as jealousy or authoritarianism (Holtzworth-Munroe and Meehan, 2004; Dixon and Browne, 2003).

What is less often acknowledged, however, is that to make the typologies work around a third of participants have to remain unclassified (Johnson et al. 2006; Holtzworth-Munroe et al., 2000). Those in the unclassified groups are more likely to be young adults – the section of the population survey research consistently shows to perpetrate the most disproportionate amount of domestic violence relative to other age bands, as well as the age band most likely to report having been assaulted by a partner themselves (ONS, 2014). Of course, younger male perpetrators also have more opportunity to move on, do things different and hence to change, whether for better or for worse, than men with long histories of abuse, damaged relationships and/or criminal records. For this reason, we need to be careful not to over-reify the ‘types’ found in typologies. Indeed, it is logical to expect personalities to change in the aftermath of violence, separation and/or the stigma of becoming known as a perpetrator to the police, one’s friends, family or children. In such circumstances, some perpetrators will become more paranoid, ashamed, depressed, and drink or drug dependent. This can lead some to become more controlling as they coerce others into keeping the violence secret. Others will recognise that they have a problem, or be supported in doing so when the violence or other problematic features of their lives come to someone else’s attention, when their partner leaves or seeks support herself, or when they enter a new relationship and become fearful of messing it up. Practitioners need therefore to be alive to the different meanings violence can have for men who use it and how these meanings can change – or be changed – during the course of tragic incidents as well as afterwards when the behaviour is brought to light and opportunities to talk about it present themselves. Often the meaning of men’s violence will allude simple classification and will not always be fully understood by perpetrators themselves, especially when there has been explosive or sudden rage as a response to something hurtful that has been said or thought. In such instances, domestic violence needs careful interpretation, informed by what is said about what happened, knowledge of the relationship history and of the perpetrator’s biography. This is something we attempted in the From Boys to Men Project and in our book Young Men and Domestic Abuse. It is also illustrated in the free to access paper.

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References

Gadd, D. & Corr, M-L. (2017) ‘Beyond Typologies: Foregrounding Meaning and Motive in Domestic Violence Perpetration’ Deviant Behavior http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01639625.2016.1197685

Gadd, D., Fox, C., Corr, M-L., Butler, I. and Alger, S. (2015) Young Men and Domestic Abuse. London: Routedge.

Holtzworth-Munroe, A. (2000) Typology of Men Who Are Violent Toward Their Female Partners: Making Sense of the Heterogeneity in Husband Violence. Current Directions in Psychological Science 9(4): 140-143.

Holtzworth-Munroe, A., Meehan, J. C., Herron, K., Rehman, U., & Stuart, G. L. (2000) Testing the Holtzworth-Munroe and Stuart (1994) batterer typology. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68(6): 1000–1019.

Holtzworth-Munroe, A and Meehan, J. (2004) Typologies of Men Who Are Maritally Violent Scientific and Clinical Implications. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 19(12): 1369-1389.

Holtzworth-Munroe, A. and Stuart, G. (1994) Typologies of Male Batterers. Psychological Bulletin, 16(3): 476-497.

Johnson, M. (2006). A Typology of Domestic Violence. Boston: New University Press.

Johnson, R. Gilchrist, E. Beech, A., Weston, S., Takriti, R., and Freeman, R. (2006) Psychometric Typology of U.K. Domestic Violence Offenders. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 21(10):1270-85.

ONS (2014) ‘Chapter 4 – Intimate Personal Violence and Partner Abuse’ Crime Statistics, Focus on Violent Crime and Sexual Offences, 2012/13, London: ONS.