The Guardian has published an article this week highlighting the far reaching implications of economic abuse. The journalist Louise Tickle focuses on the long term impact economic abuse can have many years after a relationship has ended. She points to how partners can maliciously destroy property resulting in unexpected costs which cannot then be met by victims. It highlights how some abusive partners send damning emails to landlords or employers stifling opportunities to rent property or start a new job. Other cases have come to light which included partners contacting colleges or universities claiming damaging criminal behaviour such as child abuse or criminal activity. This may result in delays to completing courses or women leaving to avoid confrontation. Additionally, victims may be forced to commit fraud or build up debts destroying future credit ratings. Economic abuse can be seen as another facet of controlling behaviour preventing victims from gaining independence and stifling chances of escape. The article can be accessed here.
Charities such as Surviving Economic Abuse believe that economic abuse needs tighter regulation in the UK and some call for financial compensation for victims of these types of behaviours saying this should be paid for by the perpetrators themselves.
The stated aim of the UK Government’s 2017 Drug Strategy is to “build a safer, healthier society: one that works for everyone.” Furthermore to, “to improve life chances and protect the most vulnerable.” The government hopes to achieve these key aims by cross-government working and engaging those from the drugs field, health and criminal justice setting including specialists from academia, practitioners and service users.
Intimate partner violence (IPV) and abuse has been given a particular remit within the 2017 drug strategy – to explore links between substance misuse and IPV, with a view to producing innovative approaches to working with both victims and perpetrators to reduce the offending behaviour and the substance misuse. The need to support those families where domestic violence features, is also recognised. In particular, The Troubled Families Programme has been expanded to include supporting family members where domestic abuse, substance misuse and mental health problems are prevalent.
A copy of the 2017 Drugs Strategy can be downloaded here.
The Centre for Violence Prevention Institute of Health and Society based at the University of Worcester are a group of multi agency professionals (police, nurses, social work, specialist domestic abuse workers and counsellors) training together to address domestic abuse. This photo was taken to promote international women’s day (IWD). Find out more about their training events, publications and conference here
March 8 sees the annual IWD campaign theme kick off for the year ahead, although many groups around the world adopt and promote the campaign theme from early in the year. The IWD campaign theme provides a unified direction to guide and galvanize collective action. Throughout the year many groups worldwide adopt the IWD campaign theme for further campaign work, gender-focused initiatives, continuing activity and events. A great example of this was in 2017 when the USA Women’s Hockey Team went on to adopt the #BeBoldForChange IWD campaign theme.
Collective action and shared responsibility for driving gender parity is what makes International Women’s Day successful. Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist once said “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”
Started by the Suffragettes in the early 1900’s, the first International Women’s Day was celebrated in 1911. International Women’s Day belongs to all communities everywhere – governments, companies, charities, educational institutions, networks, associations, the media and more. Whether through a global conference, community gathering, classroom lesson or dinner table conversation – everyone can play a purposeful part in pressing for gender parity.
You can find out more on how to get involved on the IWD website here.
The UK home secretary Amber Rudd proposed in February 2018 a series of proposals to aid the treatment of domestic violence survivors in court. One measure seeks to make it automatic that victims of domestic violence will be eligible to give evidence behind a screen (to prevent them having to face their abusers).
Some DV charities such as Women’s Aid have welcomed the measures but highlight that domestic abuse survivors are still being subjected to the “abhorrent practice” of being interrogated by their abusers within the family courts. Katie Ghose, the chief executive of Women’s Aid, commented “We know that the cross-examination of victims in the family courts by their abusive former partner is far too common.’
The practice of abusers being permitted to question their partners was originally going to be prevented under the prisons and courts bill. However, this was side-lined when Theresa May called a general election.
Rudd’s proposals will form part of a consultation on what to include in the Domestic Abuse Bill. Amber Rudd commented on the consultation in the Times saying:
“It [the consultation] will ask how we can improve our response in the home, in the community, in the courtroom, through to public services, accommodation for women fleeing their abuser, as well as how we can strengthen our laws to stop perpetrators and when possible rehabilitate them.’
The new bill is described here.
However, there is an overhaul proposed by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government which includes plans to remove refuges and other forms of short-term supported housing from the welfare system. It is suggested this will result in vulnerable women fleeing abusive partners being unable to pay for their accommodation using their housing benefit. To put this in perspective on average housing benefit makes up 53% of refuge funding. It is anticipated the impact will be far reaching if these proposals go ahead.