As previously mentioned last week, a group of experts representing research, treatment and policy gathered in York. Their aim for the day was to try and take stock of what we already know and what needs to be done about Women and Drugs. The day was organised by Ian Hamilton and chaired by Sharon Grace from the University of York.
Ian Hamilton suggests there are two parallel problems with women and drugs: ‘first we know less about women’s use of drugs than men’s drug use. Secondly we need more women to be represented in research and senior academic positions related to this topic. By addressing both aspects we would not only improve our understanding of the issues women who use drugs face, but this could also improve the care and support we offer men in treatment.’
Please find interviews with key speakers at the York conference on women and substance use here these interviews discuss topics as diverse as women’s positions in academia and addictions, expectations for the day, discussion of gender based specific services, trauma informed care and stigma felt by female users and work on sleep and recovery.
The second week in June must be a busy week of DV conferences and events in the UK! If you are located further south in England perhaps this would be more convenient for you to attend. The conference will take place at London Metropolitan University on 6th June 9.30am – 1.30pm.
Information on the event and speakers can be accessed here. A map is also available and contact details to organise your attendance.
Hestia and London Metropolitan University are organising this event featuring two representatives from leading domestic abuse prevention organisations in the United States, the focus of the presentations is looking at the lessons learned from Community Coordinated Response (CCR) and perpetrator programmes.
CCR to domestic abuse originated in the early 1980s in Duluth, Minnesota with the twin aims of centering victim safety and holding male perpetrators to account. In 2014, Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP), the city of Duluth and St. Louis County were awarded the “Gold Award” from the World Future Council and Inter-Parliamentary Union for the creation of the concept of a CCR.
The Duluth Model has become a ‘world travelling concept’, applied and adapted across different cultural contexts. In the UK, it is claimed as the basis of many of the multi-agency approaches that support victims of domestic abuse.
As previously mentioned 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). There are still a few places left to attend this conference and if you are interested please contact Ester Dobston on either Tel: 01905 542711 or email: email@example.com
The aim of the 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 speakers attending have now been finalised.
A programme providing more detailed information on the speakers and presentations is available click Programme_NCSPVA17
A leaflet promoting the conference is available click NCSPVA Annual Conference 2017
We will be reporting back to you on the key discussions from this conference.
Leading experts in mental health and substance abuse are meeting at the University of York in June to discuss Women and Addictions. The latest figures show that one in 20 women in England and Wales has used drugs in the last year and additionally only one in 10 women who need treatment actually access drug services.
In a bid to rectify the lack of attention given to women and their specific needs, the University of York will bring together experts drawn from research, policy and treatment. Ian Hamilton (a lecturer in mental health in the Department of Health Sciences) believes that little is known about the hundreds of thousands of women who do not seek help and there are number of reasons why women do not access services. He says:
“Treatment settings can be daunting places for women to access as many women will have experienced domestic violence and treatment clinics are dominated by male patients,” he said.
“Despite the complex problems that women experience their specific needs and problems are routinely ignored in research and policy; for decades attention has focussed predominantly on the needs of men.”
He also suggests women were underrepresented at every level of scientific enquiry in the area and this is partly because senior academic journal editorials are predominantly men in the field of addiction.
The organisers have invited Dr Gail Gilchrist to speak at the Women and drugs event as they believe her seminal research on intimate partner violence has made a significant contribution to the understanding of the interplay between substance use and mental health. Dr Gilchrist is also able to provide an international perspective on the issues to be discussed as she has led research in Australia, South America and Europe.
The event will include live broadcasts and interviews with speakers and women who have experienced drug abuse.
The broadcasts can be viewed here
This can be followed on twitter via the hashtag – #womenanddrugs
‘What’s The Crack’, a new podcast that seeks to explore the research behind drug news stories, asked this week: What’s the link between intimate partner violence and substance use? As one of the key questions that drives the ADVANCE PROGRAMME, the project team here at King’s College London listened with intent. Speaking to Karen Baily, also a researcher at King’s, and drawing on the work of Dr Gail Gilchrist, the podcast astutely ‘discusses some of the myths, prevalence and patterns of behaviour that are associated with IPV as well as some of the issues facing those seeking treatment and help following an abusive relationship’.
Listen to the whole thing here:
The Independent Newspaper has reported that Gopal Bargave (a minister in the state of Madhya Pradesh in india) has handed out the paddles, traditionally used to get dirt out of clothes in old-fashioned laundries, to around 700 brides at a mass wedding.
Gopal Bargava says he wants to draw attention to the problems of domestic violence in India with the bats, which come with slogans such as ‘Police won’t intervene’. The idea is that married women are permitted to hit their husbands with the paddles if they are drunk and trying to beat them or steal family resources to pay for alcohol. Many Indian states have also launched crackdowns on alcohol in recent years by banning or restricting its sale in an attempt to prevent violence. Domestic violence groups internationally have criticised this response saying it does not take into account that women may be terrified of their husbands and additionally it can be seen as encouraging violence between couples and may end in serious injury or murder.
In 2016 the government of Tamil Nadu state said they would introduce a ban during a state election campaign after the measure proved popular with women voters who blame alcohol for much of the state’s domestic and sexual violence.
Read the article here.
A book published by Sylvia Walby, Jude Towers et al addresses the extent to which violence against women is currently hidden; how violence should be measured; how research and new ways of thinking about violence could improve its measurement; and how improved measurement could change policy. It offers practical guidance on definitions, indicators and coordination mechanisms, including for the measurement of femicide, rape, domestic violence, and FGM.
The book reflects on the theoretical debates: ‘what is gender’, ‘what is violence’ and ‘the concept of coercive control’, and introduces the concept of ‘gender saturated context’.
By analysing the socially constructed nature of statistics and the links between knowledge and power, the authors aim to set new standards and guidelines to influence the measurement of violence in the coming decades.
An open access version is available for free download if you copy the link below and add it to the browser:
Alternatively a paperback can be purchased from Policy Press: here
A blog has been posted by Bristol University staff Dr Gene Feder and Dr Lucy Potter discussing why gender cannot be ignored when discussing domestic violence. They point out that more women than men suffer repeated and systematic violence, assaults and hospital admission based on population surveys rather than crime statistics or people accessing services.
They additionally discuss the results from their GP study of 1,368 men attending GP surgeries in south-west England, where 23% of men had experienced domestic abuse. They found that fewer men understood and acknowledge that they were experiencing domestic violence compared to women. This finding is seen as crucial in training health care and other professionals to enquire and respond appropriately to the domestic violence experienced by men.
The blog goes onto discuss designing programmes for male and female survivors differently. They said ‘this is to support men (and their children), with the understanding that some of their experiences and needs may be similar to women survivors, but others may be different.’
They conclude by pointing out ‘to ignore the impact of gender on domestic violence does a disservice to people of any gender. Instead, the aim must be to strive for gender-informed prevention and responses to domestic violence.’
To access and read the blog please click here
The attorney general has been urged to examine the sentencing remarks of judge Richard Mansell QC who freed a man guilty of domestic abuse because he did not believe the victim was vulnerable.
Mustafa Bashir, 34 (pictured below) was spared a prison sentence despite forcing his wife to drink bleach, throttling her in public, and striking her with his cricket bat. Mr Bashir admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He was ordered to pay £1000 costs, attend a relationship course and no longer contact his wife.
The judge commented that he did not believe his wife was vulnerable because she was “an intelligent woman with a network of friends” and a college degree. Mr Bashir’s defence lawyer also argued that Mr Bashir was about to sign a contract with Leicestershire Country Cricket club if he was spared jail. Subsequently the club denied he had been offered a contract and this information had been false. The judge said he was not convinced of Mr Bashir’s remorse but he did take into account his career prospects in his sentencing.
Criticism of the judges stance is twofold firstly that many different types of women are in fact vulnerable to domestic violence and secondly that Mr Bashir’s career prospects should have been irrelevant to the sentencing.
Polly Neate chief executive of Women’s Aid said ‘It is a complete fallacy that only a certain type of woman can become a victim of domestic abuse. In fact, perpetrators target women of all ages from all sections of society’.
Sandra Horley chief executive of Refuge also commented ‘What a woman does for a job, her level of education or the number of friends she has makes no difference; for any woman, domestic violence is a devastating crime that has severe and long-lasting impacts.’ She added ‘men who abuse women do not make positive role models; it is concerning when men’s professional or celebrity status is used in court to defend them.’
A Guardian article covering this story is available here.
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.