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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss if your work fits the specifications of the conference.
Submission deadline: 31 March 2018 | Submit to email@example.com
To book a place: please click here
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