Govt cuts scheme to help women from abuse


by Newswire    
12:00 pm - August 4th 2010

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The Independent reports:

“A scheme to protect women from domestic abuse by removing violent partners from the family home is being scrapped by the Government as part of its drive to cut public spending.

Under the so-called “go orders” planned for England and Wales, senior police would have been given the power to act instantly to safeguard families they considered at threat.

Violent men would have been banned from their homes for up two weeks, giving their victims the chance to seek help to escape abuse. But Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has decided to halt the scheme, which was due to be piloted this autumn and be rolled out nationwide next year.

Plans for Domestic Violence Protection Orders – modelled on similar schemes in Switzerland and Austria. – passed into law in April. Although they were championed by the former home secretary Alan Johnson, they received the support of all main political parties.

They were aimed at intervening in cases where police were worried about violent behaviour within a household, but did not have enough evidence to bring a criminal charge.

An officer of inspector rank or above would have the power to order a perpetrator from a property and the immediate area for up to 14 days. They were to be piloted in the West Midlands and Wiltshire from October and introduced nationally next year.

Breach of the orders could have led to criminal prosecution for contempt, potentially leading to a jail sentence.

Supporters argued that that allowed women to stay in their homes rather than flee to a friend’s home, or a refuge, to escape their abuser. Although 750,000 incidents are reported to the police each year, fewer than one-third of them result in criminal charges.”

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Reader comments


So the government cuts a scheme which allows a senior police officer to order a man to leave his home for two weeks without any hearing or chance to represent himself? I can see why the government might have worries “about the legislation setting up the orders” (from the Independent report – fifth paragraph), since that is effectively giving the police the power to deliver a substantive punishment. Furthermore, since this is a case in which no prosecution is being made (otherwise the magistrate could order the man not to attend the home) this suggests these orders would be made with less evidence – e.g. the woman not being prepared to make a statement. So effectively, a senior police officer could make this judgement on hearsay, which would not stand up in a court of law.

I don’t doubt that this law would help abuse victims, but there has to be another way of doing this which does not involve giving the police yet more power. The ends cannot in this case justify the means.

And before anyone jumps on me and accuses me of not caring, I do. But to attack some fundamental freedoms to solve a problem is not smart – it opens the way for more loss of rights. And innocent until proven guilty is important.

Oh look, the tory troll who likes to pretetend that he is not a tory is defending the latest piece of right wing clap trap that will help men who like to bash woman.

No surprise there then, because the tory trolls have all come out in pleading for special rights for rapists on here..

Why do tory men hate woman so much>?

Sally you are priceless.

Have you spotted that Theresa May is a Tory woman?

Sally,

I am not a Tory, nor a member of the Conservatives. I did vote Conservative at the last general election, as their policies suited me well. I was even happier at the coalition, as it is clear it is the truly liberal wings of both parties running it.

And I do not hate women. I hate abusers, of all types – physical, mental, legal or illegal. I’ve had enough abuse of my own in my past, and have spent a lot of my life making sure I do not turn into the sort of person who can abuse others (unless they make really silly postings). But one abuse is the abuse of justice, and to allow the police to act as both police and judge is exactly that. Seperation of powers is an important principle – it reduces the chance of corruption and discrimination. If you think that defending the right to trial, to be innocent until proven guilty is wrong, then so be it.

The problem of abuse is that the victims too often accept it. We do need to find ways for all victims of abuse to learn to stand up, report it and above all to have the space to make changes. The police should certainly have a role in ensuring abuse victims who do not want to make charges are protected. But to make a decision that someone is abusive on the grounds of evidence that will presumably not be shown to the abuser is not justice.

And to accuse me (or perhaps all Conservatives and those with similiar views on this issue) of hating women because we support key principles of justice is somewhat strange. I don’t hate men or women (they are all people); the only people I hate are the bullies, the bigots and the malicious.

@Watchman

You make a reasonable argument against the powers which were to be granted to police officers on a “pilot” basis. However, the pilot had cross party support, and is not being axed for the reasons you have given, but merely as a cost saving (or at least that is what we are being told).

You rightly point out that the problem with abuse is that too many victims accept it – I would suggest that the reason for this is that there is no quick and easy way out, and people who have just had a hiding are not often thinking very clearly. If, say a person of either sex, finds themselves in this situation, it takes time to plan put into action the exit from either the relationship or the home – mothers (who as far as I know are always women) who are at home bringing up young children are in the worst situation. It’s often hostel, bed and breakfast type accomodation and no income. They need time – and support, something else which is often in short supply.

I can’t think that the pilot would have cost very much – and would have provided an opportunity to assess its effectiveness in helping victims of domestic abuse (and although much of the focus is on that of women, it is accepted that there are cases of female on male domestic abuse too) to “have the space to make changes” – your words. In reality, keeping the abuser from the door for 14 days won’t allow sufficient time for them to complete the exit plan – but it will give them time to look for support in doing so.

Caroline:

Given the suggestion that these measures have been dropped primarily on cost grounds, the obvious question to ask is precisely what cost implications the government have identified.

Along with the cost issue, the Indy also refers to ‘worries about the legislation setting up the orders’ which, to me, appears to suggest that there may be significant concerns about the prospect of legal challenges to the use of these orders under HRA or on equality grounds. It may well be that which is driving this decision as much as anything else.

An officer of inspector rank or above would have the power to order a perpetrator from a property and the immediate area for up to 14 days.

So a policeman, based on suspicion and without sufficient evidence to go before a court, was to have the power of ordering someone not guilty of any crime to leave his own property for two weeks? Not open to the tiniest bit of abuse this? Haven’t we just seen the police forced to apologise for their gross misuse of powers to stop and search on suspicion?

Potentially with some tweaks, this legislation would have been great 10 years ago to protect my mother and the rest of the family against her abusive son.

Ah well.

“I am not a Tory, nor a member of the Conservatives. I did vote Conservative at the last general election,”

I rest my case.

@3

Have you spotted that Theresa May is a Tory woman?

Being female is no barrier to being a misogynist. Especially if one is both right-wing and female, you only need to google the quiverfull movement to find women whom believe servitude to men is the primary purpose of their sex and regard feminists as some sort of fascist group.

@7 – why assume it is ‘his property’

maybe the property belongs to the victim? just a bit of a sweeping generalisation that’s all.

i thoroughly condemn this move by TM. the time of leaving the abuser is the most dangerous time for the victim and the victim needs to be supported in escaping.

Watchman, are you the same watchman I used to know on the MSN UK News forum, later News General on pro-boards?

lurgee,

Sorry, not the same. Nice to know I have a duplicate though…

sally,

So if I vote Labour at the next election, I become Labour do I? Because if there is a good candidate, I will vote for them in preferance to my favoured party, especially on a local level. And I have not voted Conservative consistently over the years, which I would expect from a Tory.

sianushka,

If it is the victim’s property, this would not be needed. She can ask the police to remove the abuser to create space, and I think (feel free to correct me here) police have powers to keep people away from properties they have no need to access if they suspect them of planning a crime. This requires only the same level of commitment to escaping as the proposed measures. So this is shared or the abuser’s property.

11 – because of how it is being described:

A scheme to protect women from domestic abuse by removing violent partners from the family home is being scrapped by the Government as part of its drive to cut public spending

It seems reasonably clear that this policy extended to removing homeowners from their own property without needing to go to court.

Obviously, the state does have powers to order people to be removed from anywhere, or even to lock them up altogether. It is the suggestion that the police should be allowed to do this on suspicion, when they explicitly do not have enough evidence to obtain a court order that is wrong.

But what about the MENZ?!


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

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  2. Mind In Flux

    RT @libcon: Government cuts scheme to protect women from domestic abuse http://bit.ly/bNGnSl

  3. Malcolm Evison

    Government cuts scheme to protect women from domestic abuse | Liberal Conspiracy: http://bit.ly/9rDXvH via @addthis

  4. Victoria Lambert

    Absolutely shameful – victims of domestic violence let down again RT @libcon: Government cuts scheme to protect women http://bit.ly/bNGnSl

  5. Lynnette PeckBateman

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  6. Elly M

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  7. Dave Harris

    So first women bear 75% of cuts, now this? RT @libcon Government cuts scheme to protect women from domestic abuse http://bit.ly/bNGnSl

  8. Joanne Rodgers

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  10. Don Paskini

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  11. Helen

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  12. charlotte whittaker

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  13. Alan Marshall

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  14. Naadir Jeewa

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  15. Oxford Kevin

    Tories just can't be bothered to care about Women's issues. http://bit.ly/96zLhz

  16. Dave Howard

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  18. Xavier

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  19. S. Vyers

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  20. Finola Kerrigan

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