The Scottish Parliament passed a bill on the 1st February 2018 making it an offence to engage in behaviour that is:
- abusive towards a partner or ex-partner
- likely to cause the partner/ex-partner to suffer physical or psychological harm
- intending the course of behaviour to cause harm or was reckless
The bill also provides for some changes to criminal procedure, evidence and sentencing in domestic abuse cases. Existing offences such as assault could still be cited where a case of abuse is not covered by the proposed offence (e.g. where a single incident rather than a course of behaviour is prosecuted). The bill includes a good range of definitions of abusive behaviours, for example, it explicitly includes sexual violence and provides a definition of psychological harm. The bill also addresses a gap as there is known difficulty in disclosing sexual violence within relationships.
There have been suggestions relating to strengthening the laws further:
- The documented use of manipulation and ‘gas lighting’ techniques used by an abuser to convince their partner that they are insane could be covered by further legislation.
- The defence of reasonableness needs greater definition, this section of the bill implied that the onus is on the prosecution to prove that the behaviour was not reasonable beyond reasonable doubt.
- Additional prosecutions for perpetrators if there are grounds for child abuse charges.
- Training will be needed to help those involved in investigation and prosecution of the offence understand the range of behaviours and controlling relationships.
- It is more likely the complainant feels s/he is no longer in a relationship whilst the accused is continuing to believe they are. Therefore if an ex-partner or a potential ‘victim’ of this offence wants to challenge the relationship status, it could mean they cannot access the protection of this law.
You can access an article discussing the implications for training the Scottish police here.
More information on the BBC news website is available here.
Many thanks to Professor Liz Gilchrist and Professor Erica Bowan for their contributions to this post.
A March has been organised in London by the Women’s March London team, the Time’s Up anniversary rally will start opposite Downing Street on Sunday 21 January. In a statement, the event organisers said: “One year on, we are coming together to say Time’s Up.”
The Time is up Initiative was launched at the start of January 2018 as a response to the #MeToo movement and the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Spearheaded by women working in the entertainment business in the US, the initiative provides advice and support to women across all industries who have experienced sexual harassment or abuse at work. Women of all ages and backgrounds have spoken out about their experiences of harassment and assault, reshaping assumptions about the prevalence of sexual misconduct. In the UK, a coalition of MPs and women’s groups demanded the government strengthen laws around sexual harassment.
The rally organisers are also hoping to focus attention on a wide range of issues including gender-based violence, sexual harassment and abuse; Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, transphobia, homophobia and ableism; the gender pay gap; underfunding for domestic violence services; menstrual poverty and climate change denial.
A new paper has been published discussing how choices of alcohol can affect emotions. The authors used an international cross-sectional survey and investigated alcohol consumption choices among men and women and included different settings where alcohol was consumed.
An anonymous online questionnaire was completed by people aged between 18 and 34 who had drunk alcohol in the previous year. The questions probed the type of alcohol drunk and associated emotions, and were asked in 11 different languages, with participants taking part from 21 countries around the world.
The findings showed that red wine was most linked to relaxation but also tiredness by people completing the survey and spirits were more closely seen as producing the emotions of self confidence and energy.
As one of the authors describes “From a public health perspective a lot of the time we have focused on issues around cancer, heart disease and liver disease – but an important aspect is the balance of emotional outcomes that people are getting from alcohol,” said Mark Bellis, co-author of the research from Public Health Wales NHS Trust.
Read a Guardian article that describes the study here.
You can view the BMJ paper here.
The Centre for Violence Prevention at Worcester University is hosting an annual conference on the 4 and 5th June 2018. The focus of the conference is violence prevention at the intersections of identify and experience. The aim of the conference is to draw together practitioners and academics from all disciplines and to advance discussions and understanding around the complexities of preventing all forms of violence.
The conference organisers are calling for abstracts from academics and non-academics who work in the broad field of violence prevention. They are interested in submissions from the following topics in relation to victim and offender positions.
Hate crimes: Child abuse/exploitation, Child abuse and neglect, Violence in older age, Violence and gender, Honour based violence
Stalking: Gang related violence, Child to parent violence, Technology-mediated violence, Violence involving firearms and guns, Violence prevention in the context of war
Knife violence: Childhood violence, Workplace violence and abuse, Domestic violence and abuse
Abstracts of proposed papers should be no longer than 250 words and provide the general context and rationale for the presentation, and describe the main argument/case, and where appropriate summarize findings. Implications for practice should be noted. Please contact Esther Dobson email@example.com to discuss if your work fits the specifications of the conference.
Submission deadline: 31 March 2018 | Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org
To book a place: please click here
Many international agencies, organisations and groups are preparing for 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign starting with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on the 25th November. Research shows that one in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime internationally. Additionally, only 40% of these women seek out help and of these only 10% seek support from the police.
More evidence is emerging internationally on what works from community mobilisation to change social norms, school interventions targeting staff/pupils and economic empowerment to increase gender equality and reduce violence. You can access the UN Women’s website here to access news and events, videos, stories, statements and evidence that explains some international work in this area. If you would like to promote your event or activity for the 16 Days of Activism on our blog please contact Juliet.email@example.com
Some members of the ADVANCE team presented findings on the meta-ethnography, systematic review and preliminary findings from the qualitative dyad interviews with males and their ex/current partners. Members of the teams from Kings College London and Worcester University chaired and presented at a symposium entitled ‘Advancing theory and treatment approaches for males in substance use treatment who perpetrate intimate partner violence (IPV).’
There was a wide range of high quality scientific and policy presentations at the conference covering topics including drug and alcohol use, gambling, misuse of medicines, smoking, smart phone usage, crime related to substance use, prisons and usage, health consequences, marketing of drugs on the internet, innovations in practice and delivery, reducing risk for users, clinical tools and evaluating impact of interventions or policies. The conference provides a valuable opportunity for discourse and networking across the different disciplines involved in this challenging area. There were delegates from 71 countries and more than 1200 participants attended. Moreover there were over 500 oral presentations, 200 posters and 20 keynote speakers.
For those of you who can access London easily there is a pop up museum about international drugs policy that is running from 3rd to the 5th of November.
The museum has already been hosted in New York and Montreal and the work aims to highlight how drug policies have impacted and shaped different communities. It illustrates the diverse international harms caused by drug prohibition, while advocating for new approaches rooted in dignity, health, and human rights.
To find out more please click here.
A report has been published by HM Inspectorate of Probation, HMICFRS, Care Quality Commission and OFSTED focusing on domestic abuse being a public health issue. The report focuses on good practice taking place in different parts of England but also draws attention to their findings that professionals aren’t focusing enough on perpetrators in their work.
The inspectorate considered six local areas in England including Bradford, Hampshire, Hounslow, Lincolnshire, Salford and Wiltshire. Their work included conducting a literature review considering national relevant data, speaking to survivors of domestic abuse, surveyed teachers in schools and sharing findings with stakeholders. They concluded that the volume of activity that domestic violence creates for agencies is so great that it requires sophisticated systems and well co-ordinated processes. They called for the next step to be considering long term approaches towards preventing domestic abuse which will involve a societal change in the concept of domestic abuse.
When focusing on perpetrators the report concluded ‘Change must start with a more systematic focus on perpetrators’ behaviour and preventing their abuse of their victims. By not taking this step forward the cost to victims and children, and to the public purse, will remain high.’
You can access this report here.
Worcester University are running a number of events towards the end of November at the Centre for Violence Prevention Research. The launch of these events will be on 24th November 1-4pm. There will be an opportunity for stakeholders to gain understanding of recent work conducted at the Centre for Violence Prevention. This will take the form of short presentations showcasing a number of projects on DV in relation to: stalking and harassment, substance use and alcohol, intellectual disabilities and the family court system.
There will also be opportunities to discuss your work with attendees and network. The event is free.
If you would like to attend please contact Ester Dobson on 01905 542711 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A new podcast is available called ‘What’s the Crack’ discussing intimate partner violence (IPV) and substance use. The podcast takes the form of an interview with Dr Gail Gilchrist. Gail discusses national and international studies she has conducted alongside other researchers on substance use and perpetration of IPV. She highlights unmet need in treatment services to identify and treat this violence. Research shows that there is a strong link between substance use and IPV (which includes both emotional abuse and physical perpetration). This podcast details the many reasons why this population of men may perpetrate violence more than the general population. For example perpetrators may have experienced childhood abuse themselves, witnessing DV in childhood, have mental health problems and have seen general violence in their childhood and perpetrated violence more generally.
Each episode of What’s the Crack draws on knowledge or research in drugs field the researchers Rob Calder, Lindsey Hines and Elle Wadsworth are based at the National Addiction Centre at Kings College London. The aim of the podcasts is move away from one dimensional news coverage and combine a pool of expertise that covers chemistry, psychology and addiction treatment. The research interests for the podcasts are broad including the causes of addiction, drug sales on the hidden web, policy, and the use of cannabis, alcohol, tobacco and opiates.
You can listen to this podcast by clicking here.