Domestic violence services in “worst crisis” on budgets


2:30 pm - November 5th 2012

by Sarah McAlpine    


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Services aimed at helping vulnerable and abused women are facing million-pound cuts as local authorities slash their budgets, leaving the womens’ sector in “the worst crisis it has ever been” in.

The top 152 councils in England are cutting spending to women’s services by an average of £44,914 each compared to budgets since 2009. Services include women’s refuges, rape crisis centres, domestic violence outreach, services for ethnic minority women, trafficked women & women in prostitution.

The cuts come in spite of a report conducted last year that found incidents of domestic violence had increased by 17% over the recession- to which experts attribute the rise. Women’s Aid report that around 320 women are turned away from domestic violence refuges each day.

Vivienne Hayes, chief executive of the Women’s Resource Centre remarked that due to the impact of the cuts, the women’s sector was in “the worst crisis it has ever been,”

“So many service providers have been forced to shut down, are not able to provide the services to fit the demand, or are having to turn women away.”

Chief executive of domestic violence charity Nia, Karen Ingala Smith said that vulnerable women may be left with “nowhere to go” once the cuts impact, and there was concern that this could lead to the deaths of some women at the hands of violent partners. It is estimated that up to two women a week are killed by their partner in Britain.

The 101 councils who responded to questions on spending through a Freedom Of Information request from the Huffington Post revealed that £5.6m of cuts have been made to services for vulnerable women when compared to 2009/10 spending. London alone has cut 1.9m.

Mary Mason of Solace Women’s Aid warned that cuts to domestic violence services could also increase the cost of the crime- £5bn in England alone. “Early intervention and support works- for every £1 spent we save £8 to statutory services.”

“Yet all our services are full, all have waiting lists and all services are forced to restrict time spent on supporting women and children.”

Liberal Conspiracy spoke to Glenda*, who was referred to her local rape crisis centre after being brutally attacked in October 2010.  She received one on one counselling, which she regards as “an important part of my recovery.”

“It was good just to have somewhere safe to go where I could be with someone who understood. [They] helped me carry on surviving.”

Domestic Violence services have also warned that the true extent to the cuts may run much deeper- changes to housing benefits and reforms to universal benefit mean that some women may be unable to leave abusive and violent partners.

Barnet Council’s Labour group deputy leader Barry Rawlings explained that Refuges may have to close due to benefit reforms. “Refuges are vital for the safety of women and children and rely on housing benefit to make them viable. The concern is the payment will be direct to the claimant who may well have moved on from the refuge by the time the payments come through and the refuge will never get the payment.”

Vivienne Hayes added that “This failure to address the causes and consequences of women’s inequality and ignorance of the lifesaving and the cost saving services the women’s sector provides, is indicative of this governments’ attitude towards women.”

 

 

*name changed to protect identity

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About the author
Sarah McAlpine is a News Editor at Liberal Conspiracy, and volunteer Co-Editor at www.womensviewsonnews.org. Raging Feminist. She likes Politics, Smashing Patriarchy & Animal Videos - though not necessarily in that order.
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Story Filed Under: Feminism ,Fight the cuts ,Local Government ,News ,Sex equality

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Reader comments


To add to this IDS revealed recently that he intends to add ‘children growing up without both birth parents’ to his list of social ills that need addressing. In short, the government now regards women who flee an abusive relationship to be a problem that needs fixing, along with step children and gay adoption.
So, er, don’t expect any help on this matter from the Tories any time soon.

This Tory Led Coalition talks BIG about tackling/dealing with these social problems whilst at the same time shaking and taking away the foundations that are already in place to deal with these very problems.

Is this some sort of weird Reverse Psychology or some sort of Sick Joke that this Government has embarked on.

To protect people you need money otherwise you cannot protect them and offer safety.

Nearly forgot : Plebs are irrelvant !

Nearly forgot : Plebs are irrelevant!

4. Man on Clapham Omnibus

It’ll be interesting when the new restrictive Legal Aid rolls in during April. DV funding criteria are more restrictive and I also believe the Tories have also taken away funding for women to get their kids back should Dad run off with them or indeed is so violent that mum wont go home.

Unfortunately if these issues dont resolve quickly, the LA often start to think about making Care applications. I’m sure that isnt what Dunkin Smith has in mind.

“In short, the government now regards women who flee an abusive relationship to be a problem that needs fixing”

So a women allowing a child to be introduced into an abusive relationship is not a problem? That women end up on there own on benefits with children is not a problem?

Time for the usual clarifications and caveats.

Reported incidents of domestic violence rose by 17% on the Police Recorded Crime statistics but the prevalence of partner abuse/violence was any between 15% ans 25% lower on every metric except threats of violence, which remained stable, in the three years from 2008/9 to 2010/11 than was the case in preceding three year period.

So what does this mean?

Well, the recorded crime data give the number of reported incidents but not the number of individual victims, while the BCS estimates are based on a victimisation survey, which give a more accurate picture of the number of victims but doesn’t provide an accurate assessment of levels of repeat victimisation – and, of course, domestic violence is known to be subject to significant levels of under-reporting.

So the figures aren’t inconsistent with each other but they do tell us that something a little more complex is going on that just more blokes (and women) beating up their partners due to the stresses and strains of the recession.

It’s likely that significant proportion of the increase in the recorded crime figures is down to more victims being willing to come forward and report incidents – and its unlikely that the recession has any bearing on that change, which is more likely to stem from a combination of victims gaining in confidence that their complaints will be taken seriously by the police, good work being done on the ground by support organisation and a range of other factors, including generational differences in attitudes to domestic violence and changing attitudes generally.

A portion of the increase could, however, be down to an increase in reports arising from of repeat victimisation, which can more plausibly be linked to stresses related to recession and the effects of poverty, so although things have improved for most women since the recession started – the fall in prevalence means a fall in general risk – things may well have got substantially worse for the subgroup of women who are living in the most vulnerable circumstances.

None of this detracts from the other point – if reported incidents have risen then so has the demand for support services irrespective of whether the increase stems from a real terms increase in levels of domestic violence or just from an increase in reporting rates, which is, of course, a fall in under-reporting – although it is does fail to capture, accurately, the full scope of the issues here.

Domestic violence organisations may bring a considerable amount of expertise to the table in some areas, but statistics is rarely, if ever one of them. By going for the simple, but inaccurate argument here, rather than the one that more accurately reflects the data and has is more nuanced as a result, they’re actually selling their own argument short by failing to reflect the fact that data suggests a likely increase in the number of women needing support who have complex, multiple needs, due to repeat victimisation, all of which needs an even greater level of resourcing than would the case than in a simple increase in cases.

These cuts are, therefore, likely to run even deeper than the O/P suggests because the data suggests a very nasty combination of less resources and more victims with very complex, resource-heavy, support need may be putting an even greater squeeze on the sector than a superficial reading of the figures suggests.

It’s a bad situation all round.

Aww shit, can someone fix the tag in there…

8. Chaise Guevara

@ Blah

“So a women allowing a child to be introduced into an abusive relationship is not a problem?”

Indeed. One that services like these try to help remedy.

“That women end up on there own on benefits with children is not a problem?”

Women are allowed to have jobs these days. But if she does end up on benefits, that’s not a problem – or rather it’s a smidgen of a problem compared to her and her child continuing to be abused, or having to live on the street to escape the abuser.

Try a little compassion.

@Blah – That is the correct method to write a post that consists of little other than victim blaming. Well done.

Chaise Guevara, I have compassion towards those in these situations, it just pisses me off when it can not be addressed in any way with out some moaning little twat turning it into a case of :

“In short, the government now regards women who flee an abusive relationship to be a problem that needs fixing”

Then of course we get “victim blaming”. Children growing up in single parent homes is a negative, children growing up being supported 100% by benefits is a negative, any gender in an abusive relationship is a negative, introducing children to such an environment is a negative. Anything that can be done to stop the creation of and correct the above situations for all involved is a positive, yet in this country we cant even approach the issue in a realistic manner because the emotionally unstable are on the side lines ready to bash there pots and pans with there drama, more interested in screaming VICTIM BLAMING! Than working towards any solution that remedies the situation.

@Blah – You do realise step children are being included in IDS’ information gathering exercise don’t you? And Children who are adopted. Neither of those two suggest a single mother household, yet that’s what you focused on.

11. Cylux ~ No, I focused on your comments and the way you framed it concerning women leaving abusing relationships, because the way you did frame it is utter bollocks, if only those who use such crap turned instantly to dust if they had any connection/interest in politics, the world would be a better place.

13. Derek Hattons Tailor

Why is domestic violence singled out though as a crime worthy of particular support, why don’t councils fund support groups for victims of other crimes ?

What about workers?

15. Just Visiting

> The top 152 councils in England are cutting spending to women’s services by an average of £44,914 each compared to budgets since 2009.

It would be nice to know the % cuts here – as a simple number like that, could be a huge % or a tiny one.

> Services include women’s refuges, rape crisis centres, domestic violence outreach, services for ethnic minority women, trafficked women & women in prostitution.

Humm, ‘Services include’ – that is a little vague – it would be nice to know the exact list they used.

16. Chaise Guevara

@ Blah

“Chaise Guevara, I have compassion towards those in these situations, it just pisses me off when it can not be addressed in any way with out some moaning little twat turning it into a case of :

“In short, the government now regards women who flee an abusive relationship to be a problem that needs fixing””

Yeah, ok. I’ll give you that one. I winced a little on reading that myself.

“Then of course we get “victim blaming”.”

The way your first comment was phrased really did sound like victim-blaming. It came off like “why aren’t we having a go at women for being abused!?!?”

It sounds now like you didn’t mean it that way, but Cylux was right to call you on it, based on that comment. I think this might be more miscommunication that actual philosophical disagreement.

17. Just Visiting

I don’t know if relevant here – but when it comes to counselling, there are some very impressive charities doing it on public donations rather than tax payers money.

Like ‘Cruse Bereavement Care’, with a list of the locations they cover with volunteers

Is it possible that some of the counselling being done by Council money, could be moved to some equivalents to Cruse?

18. Chaise Guevara

@ 13 Derek

“Why is domestic violence singled out though as a crime worthy of particular support, why don’t councils fund support groups for victims of other crimes ?”

They do, I think. Although I reckon a long-term victim of domestic violence would need more support than, for example, I did when my bike got nicked.

In terms of resources allotted, I can think of few victims more in need than people who have been being serially abused by their partner.

19. Chaise Guevara

@ 17 JV

“I don’t know if relevant here – but when it comes to counselling, there are some very impressive charities doing it on public donations rather than tax payers money.”

If anything, that means that charities are having to pick up the work that should be covered by government.

Blah

No, I focused on your comments and the way you framed it concerning women leaving abusing relationships, because the way you did frame it is utter bollocks, if only those who use such crap turned instantly to dust if they had any connection/interest in politics, the world would be a better place.

Perhaps some background is in order

The very first indictor in our outcomes framework makes clear that stable, loving families matter.

They matter for this Government, and they matter for the most vulnerable in society.

By measuring the proportion of children living with the same parents from birth and whether their parents report a good quality relationship

… we are driving home the message that social programmes should promote family stability and avert breakdown.

Emphasis mine. His comments came after research revealed that half of 15 year olds live with both parents. This is hardly a surprising statistic in a world where people are no longer trapped into loveless, or even abusive relationships, in order to avoid the stigma that came with being divorced, a step-parent, in a gay or lesbian relationship or a single parent.

Payment by results

What’s more, the Work Programme actually incentivises providers to support the hardest to help…

… pioneering the use of payment by results, with the biggest payouts for successfully keeping individuals in work for 2 years.

Because we are paying by results, we will only pay for what works – reducing the risk on the taxpayer and ensuring that every pound of Government money is targeted where it has a positive impact on people’s lives.

Our intention is to see an outcome-based approach extended across Government services…

Essentially he intends to extend the highly controversial and poor performing work programme model to dealing with social issues. Companies will be paid by results based on the four indicators mentioned – meaning that companies like A4e and G4S could now be brought into the family home to ensure that children are growing up in ‘stable, loving families’. The measure of success they will be judged, and paid on, is whether the child is growing up with both birth parents and whether the parents ‘report a good quality relationship’. A good question to ask would be ‘what tools will they have or be granted in order to get those results?’

Alternatively, lets hate on women who get pregnant in abusive relationships and single mothers.

21. Derek Hattons Tailor

@ 18. When I reported an attempted theft of my car I got given a crime number over the phone and was sent a leaflet with contact for victim support. I got over it alone, somehow.

I didn’t make my point very clearly, if the objection is to cuts to victim support, why not protest about all cuts to all victims ?

22. Just Visiting

Solace’s website says:

Our annual income has increased steadily in recent years and our latest audited accounts show the annual income as £4.1million, an increase of 10% on our previous year in operation.

23. Just Visiting

Chaise

> If anything, that means that charities are having to pick up the work that should be covered by government.

Not sure you mean exactly.
You obviously don’t mean that Cruse’s volunteers should stop helping out until tax payers’ money replaces the donations they get.

So why is this a case where it ‘should be covered’ by tax payers not private donors?

24. Chaise Guevara

@ 21 Derek

“When I reported an attempted theft of my car I got given a crime number over the phone and was sent a leaflet with contact for victim support. I got over it alone, somehow.

I didn’t make my point very clearly, if the objection is to cuts to victim support, why not protest about all cuts to all victims ?”

Agreed, but what I’m saying is that there are some victims that really, badly need the help, and people who have been abused in their own home are near the top of that list.

Cutting support for theft victims (not sure what it is, but I’m guessing you get given a flyer) is not on the same level as attacking the support network that’s built to help people escaping abusive homes. Mainly because it’s their goddamn home. That’s supposed to be your castle.

25. Just Visiting

I googled the sources for the 2011 Mirror.

It turns out that Hansard is the source -and the raw data could have been equally been used to show a 17% rise over 3 years, not 2.

So that’s down to 6% per annum.

That seems small beer compared to:

‘Honour’ crimes against women in UK rising rapidly, figures show….47% rise in one year

Said the Guardian in December:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/dec/03/honour-crimes-uk-rising

26. Chaise Guevara

@ 23 JV

“So why is this a case where it ‘should be covered’ by tax payers not private donors?”

I mean that this sort of thing is something a decent society should extent to anyone who needs it, instead of leaving victims reliant on charity. The charity shouldn’t need to exist in the first place, it’s plugging a gap that the state has left open.

“So why is this a case where it ‘should be covered’ by tax payers not private donors?”

Leaving aside the ‘haven’t you got a heart’ arguments…

Because abuse victims are taxpayers too and have a right to expect services that meet their needs?

Or maybe because it is the most basic of social contracts that the state affords its citizens protection in return for its protection?

Or maybe because the support that abuse victims need costs less than doing nothing (eg the cost of a refuge place is dwarfed by the costs of repeated calls to the police / A&E visits, children in care etc etc)

Apologies – that should have read:

Or maybe because it is the most basic of social contracts that the state affords its citizens protection in return for its obedience to its laws (inc taxes)?

29. Matt Wardman

>The top 152 councils in England are cutting spending to women’s services by an average of £44,914 each compared to budgets since 2009.

Looking at the “top 10″ posted over at the HP, 60% of the £5.6m cut in budgets is accounted for by 10 councils out of 152, which suggests that cuts are deep and narrow.

I’d also be interested in percentages. Are services being protected relative to other priorities or cut more?

Is the full set of data posted anywhere, please, Sarah?

@Just Visiting

I’m afraid that by citing Cruse, who are very good, you’re displaying your ignorance of charity funding.

Most large national charities are, in reality, federations made up of smaller local charities operating under the same national banner. This is true of Cruse, Mind, Mencap, Age UK and host of others and its these local organisations that provide the ground-level services, not the national Head Office.

And, in most cases, these local organisations will receive at least some funding from local authorities and/or local NHS organisations either in grants or through commissioned contracts. The actual sums of money can vary from area to area and depend also on the types of services provided.

It’s not at all unusual, for example, to find a local branch of Mind turning over £2-3 million a year in an urban area, the vast bulk of which comes from commissioned contracts with the local authority and primary care trust(s) wihc may pay for everything from residential care services and hostels, to day centres to counselling services to advice and information services, allowing the NHS, in particular, to concentrate on the provision of acute mental health services.

A local branch of Cruse in the same area will be a much smaller operation but will nevertheless often receive sufficient funding to cover the running cost of an office and a couple of salaries for the paid staff who organise and train the volunteers in addition to carrying out the fundraising necessary to supplement their income and keep the service going.

Forget what you see in the national organisation’s accounts, most local organisations operate on a mix of funding from various sources – local authorities, charitable trust, national lottery grants, local donations and bequests, etc and domestic violence organisations are, broadly speaking, no different although, in recent years, some additional funding has been made available through the Home Office.

Now here’s where the problems really start to kick in – when central government starts kicking local government for cost savings and makes cuts in the revenue support grants, local authorities have to decide how to make those savings and voluntary sector support budgets are usually seen as the low hanging fruit, expect in a few cases where organisations in specific sectors have contracts for delivering services that the council under a statutory duty to provide.

It’s often comes down to a choice of whether to lay off a few council staff or pull the funding out from under a local service run by a voluntary organisation and, more often than not, its the service provider who ends taking the brunt of the cuts because, politically and financially, it’s easier to cut externally contracted services than it is to lay off staff not to mention, of course, that its often the council staff whose jobs could be in firing line compiling the budgets and writing the reports on which councillors make their decisions.

I worked in the voluntary sector for more than 10 years and on several occasions say excellent local services go to the wall due to relatively small cuts in funding while the council shuffled its own deckchairs to keep its own staff in work, some of whom were, frankly, worse than useless.

They way local organisation are funded, it doesn’t take much to destabilise them because although it can be reasonably easy to get project funding for specific services, very few non-statutory sector funders will pay for core operational costs.

” The way your first comment was phrased really did sound like victim-blaming. It came off like “why aren’t we having a go at women for being abused!?!?””

If it was meant as it came across to you there, it would be nothing else but the opposite extreme of:

“The government now regards women who flee an abusive relationship to be a problem that needs fixing”

Would it not? I mean on the one hand we have “Blame the women” and on the other we have “They are victims to the highest degree, don”t you dare even say something that could make them feel as though they had involvement in this”

I would suggest that both extremes are as damaging. We need a middle ground and we are not to overlook a persons responsibility, to them selves and society, to conduct a rational assessment of there partners, to enter and maintain only functional relationships and bring children into nothing less.

What would our society be like if the above were at the forefront of peoples minds? Changing females from victims to offender by having a go at them is useless, but how as a society do we cultivate an environment in which it is unacceptable to be with an abusive partner in the first place, unacceptable to the individuals them selves? For a start how much of the school years are invested into the teaching of relationship psychology, to give young people an understanding of and the ability to recognize abusive traits, mental and physical, in there partners, to give a real understanding of the costs, to ones life in terms of health and well being and there future children if these issues are overlooked, and most importantly how to deal with the situation.

32. Chaise Guevara

@ 31 Blah

“If it was meant as it came across to you there, it would be nothing else but the opposite extreme of:

“The government now regards women who flee an abusive relationship to be a problem that needs fixing”

Would it not?”

Maybe so, but that’s just whataboutery.

“Changing females from victims to offender by having a go at them is useless, but how as a society do we cultivate an environment in which it is unacceptable to be with an abusive partner in the first place, unacceptable to the individuals them selves?”

It’s difficult. Although I agree that education is important.

“Maybe so, but that’s just whataboutery.”

Not really, its just the other end of the spectrum. With these issues we either have “Save the women!” From a highly emotional defensive set of people, or we have “They need a toughen up and sort it them selves” from the other lot.

But again does any one know how much schooling time is devoted towards relationship psychology if any at all? If we have people entering into adult life and relationships without a clue of the warning signs to look out for and how to respond to them, that’s a very big issue. Education is the only way these issues will ever be prevented.

but how as a society do we cultivate an environment in which it is unacceptable to be with an abusive partner in the first place, unacceptable to the individuals them selves?

So we’re to give up on the idea that perhaps partners might refrain from being abusive in the first place?

Rather than shame people who are abusive in relationships we’re instead to shame those who are abused in such relationships?

Moreover, who benefits when, a relationship with kids having already turned sour and violent, government contracted private agencies work to try and keep the dysfunctional family together, using whatever sanctions* at their disposal to prevent either partner from leaving or breaking up? – that is what IDS has currently proposed.

*While he hasn’t yet covered what sanctions if any private providers will have, it’s unlikely that they’ll agree to a payment by results scheme without having some ‘teeth’ with which to get those results. In the work programme on which IDS’s new proposal is based they can of course stop someone’s benefits for up to 3 years, which with the launch of Universal Credit next year will include in-work benefits such as working tax or child credits.

35. Chaise Guevara

@ 33 Blah

“Not really, its just the other end of the spectrum. ”

Still whataboutery. Basically the fact that other people are wrong in a different way does not make up for the fact that you are wrong too (or were, seeing as you’ve updated your position since then).

“But again does any one know how much schooling time is devoted towards relationship psychology if any at all?”

I don’t have a clue. I agree we should be teaching it.

36. Chaise Guevara

@ 34 Cylux

“So we’re to give up on the idea that perhaps partners might refrain from being abusive in the first place?

Rather than shame people who are abusive in relationships we’re instead to shame those who are abused in such relationships?”

You’re being completely unreasonable. Firstly, the idea that educating potential victims to help them stay safe means that you’re going to let abusers off the hook is a ridiculous false dichotomy. You might as well say that the invention of burglar alarms necessitates the legalisation of theft.

Secondly, I don’t see Blah saying we should shame victims. He said we should try to make people see being an abused partner unacceptable to themselves, i.e. enourage them to avoid such situations where possible.

I can’t help wondering whether you actually have any interest in the topic, or whether you’re just sniping at people because you’re bored.

@36 Not being funny, but I managed to back up my original assertion that “the government now regards women who flee an abusive relationship to be a problem that needs fixing, along with step children and gay adoption.” up @20.

What you got?

38. Chaise Guevara

@ 37

That has fuck-all to do with what I just said.

Grow up and stop trolling.

“Still whataboutery. Basically the fact that other people are wrong in a different way does not make up for the fact that you are wrong too (or were, seeing as you’ve updated your position since then)”

Chaise Guevara, I was not wrong because it was not my position, I witnessed one idiotic extreme being displayed and displayed the exact opposite my self to highlight the silliness of and the reactions to them both. On the one hand we have “Victim blaming” on the other we have “Sort it your self” and in the middle we have tens of thousands of young people moving through an education system without A HINT OF FUCKING help/aid/education to deal with and avoid these issues in their future.

As you have seen from the response of cylux concerning the education of our young on the traits to be alert for when entering a relationship etc, something that would actually give them an awareness and allow them to make more of a conscious choice about there situation, the people operating from extremes make this an impossible landscape to make effect change in, for them its about being right, not change.

40. Chaise Guevara

@ 39 Blah

“Chaise Guevara, I was not wrong because it was not my position, I witnessed one idiotic extreme being displayed and displayed the exact opposite my self to highlight the silliness of and the reactions to them both.”

Fair enough.

“As you have seen from the response of cylux concerning the education of our young on the traits to be alert for when entering a relationship etc, something that would actually give them an awareness and allow them to make more of a conscious choice about there situation, the people operating from extremes make this an impossible landscape to make effect change in, for them its about being right, not change.”

Agreed; good analysis. People are so busy looking for an excuse to get outraged, they end up doing active harm (despite genuine good intentions) by fighting against positive solutions because they’ve concocted an excuse to label them “offensive”.

41. Chaise Guevara

@ Cylux

OK, post 38 was rude, my apologies. But you did seem to be responding to a completely different post. I think you should either justify the accusations against Blah that I pulled out @36, or withdraw them.

42. Shatterface

Why is domestic violence singled out though as a crime worthy of particular support, why don’t councils fund support groups for victims of other crimes ?

Because victims of mugging or racial attacks aren’t expected to live with their attackers, fuckwit.

See the word ‘domestic’ in ‘domestic violence’? Does that give you a clue about the special dangers faced by victims of domestic abuse? A hint to why they can’t just go home and lock the danger outside?

43. So Much for Subtlety

1. Cylux

To add to this IDS revealed recently that he intends to add ‘children growing up without both birth parents’ to his list of social ills that need addressing. In short, the government now regards women who flee an abusive relationship to be a problem that needs fixing, along with step children and gay adoption.
So, er, don’t expect any help on this matter from the Tories any time soon.

About 5% of American divorces involve domestic violence. I have no reason to think the British figure is higher. Nor do you I expect. Which means that IDS can recognise the blatantly obvious – that marriage breakdown and the raising of future-criminals in single parent homes is a problem – and want to do something about, without having any impact on the victims of domestic violence at all. In fact he could cut divorce by 95% without causing any harm to a single victim of domestic violence. He might even, decide that as it is on the borderline of statistical irrelevance, he could ignore them.

But you would want to get a cheap shot in exploiting said victims suffering anyway, right?

44. So Much for Subtlety

24. Chaise Guevara

Agreed, but what I’m saying is that there are some victims that really, badly need the help, and people who have been abused in their own home are near the top of that list.

There are some who really need the help. I am not sure that we can tell who they are. Does Rhianna really badly need help? God knows I think so, but she may not (for those who are not keeping up with celeb goss, Rhianna’s boyfriend Chris Brown beat her so badly she was put into the hospital. She begged him on Twitter to come back, went on Oprah and said he was the real victim. And now they are back together.)

The victims of domestic violence come in all shapes and sizes. They have all sorts of different attitudes to their spouses. But by and large they choose to remain. An informed adult decision more often than not. What do you think support can do?

Not to mention, of course, the usual lying with statistics that such groups use to inflate the figures and hence their budgets.

45. Derek Hattons Tailor

@ 42 “Because victims of mugging or racial attacks aren’t expected to live with their attackers, fuckwit”.

Oh ok, that means murder is less serious than domestic violence because the victim is like, dead, or GBH where they are in a wheelchair, or drunk drivers where they are vegetables, fuckwit.
And what does “expected” mean ? Expected by who, we are talking about adults who can live wherever they want like everyone else. If I got mugged I wouldn’t expect or want to live with the mugger.

You may as well say “I support taxpayer funded, sheltered accommodation for women who make poor mate choices” at least you would be being honest

I think you should either justify the accusations against Blah that I pulled out @36, or withdraw them.

You’re being completely unreasonable. Firstly, the idea that educating potential victims to help them stay safe means that you’re going to let abusers off the hook is a ridiculous false dichotomy. You might as well say that the invention of burglar alarms necessitates the legalisation of theft.

Blah’s ‘educational concern’ regarding people entering into abusive relationships would have been somewhat more believable, if they hadn’t been attacking single mothers on benefits while they were at it. Not to mention their ‘middle of the ground’ position regarding victim blaming – sort it out yourself is a bit of a false dichotomy, given that standing in the middle means every victim of crime is in some way partially responsible for what’s done to them. For example – Geraldo Rivera opined that Trayvon Martin’s murder was because was wearing a hoodie, and thus sending out a signal that he was a gangster. – fits perfectly well within Blah’s framework. He’s still a victim, but partially responsible for his own murder because he dressed inappropriately for that neighbourhood. Or to use your example, the police shouldn’t bother themselves too much with responding to someone who is burgled when they didn’t even go to the trouble to fit a burglar alarm. “No burglar alarm mate? Not taking too much personal responsibility there are ya? Can’t help ya out mate.”

47. Chaise Guevara

@ 44 SMFS

For a start, we can provide help to those who seek it. I agree it’s a difficult issue, but there are things we can do.

48. Chaise Guevara

@ 45 Derek

“Oh ok, that means murder is less serious than domestic violence because the victim is like, dead, or GBH where they are in a wheelchair, or drunk drivers where they are vegetables, fuckwit.”

Um, if you’re dead, permanently disabled or a vegetable, it’s too late for us to stop that from happening. Whereas if someone has nowhere to go except back to an abusive partner or parent, we can help them.

Why does helping abuse victims offend you so much?

49. Chaise Guevara

@ 46 Cylux

“Blah’s ‘educational concern’ regarding people entering into abusive relationships would have been somewhat more believable, if they hadn’t been attacking single mothers on benefits while they were at it.”

Er, you realise that Blah is not Newsnight, right? Do you have so little basis for your attack on him that you have to conflate him with a TV show?

“Not to mention their ‘middle of the ground’ position regarding victim blaming – sort it out yourself is a bit of a false dichotomy, given that standing in the middle means every victim of crime is in some way partially responsible for what’s done to them.”

I think the issue here is that we use terms like “blame” and “responsible” to refer to at least two separate things. Sometimes, people who are victims of crime have put themselves in a more vulnerable position than they need to. To take a slightly less emotive example, if I walk home alone at night, drunk, through a bad neighbourhood, while wearing visibly expensive headphones, then get mugged as a result, just because I didn’t want to pay for a bus, then I could have avoided that situation. Or if I get burgled because I leave the front door wide open when I’m out. That doesn’t mean I somehow share the guilt for those crimes – that belongs solely to the criminal – but if a lot of people were doing that sort of thing, it would make sense for the state to try to educate the public to take more precautions.

And yes, the potential victim should not, in a perfect world, have to adjust their behaviour. But in a perfect world there would be no criminals, and we don’t live there. So when people get on their high horse and decry offering safety advice as “victim blaming”, what they’re actually doing is putting people at higher risk of becoming a victim. This is not a smart solution.

I think this kind of thinking has come from the rape issue, where some people really do think the victim shares the blame (for wearing a short skirt or whatever stupid reason), so other people quite understandably develop a bad reaction to this attitude. Then they fail to notice the difference between “you deserved what happened to you” and “if you do X, Y and Z, you’ll be safer”. Which is a bloody big difference.

@49 You could always go read his posts where blah does have a go at single mothers in this thread being a net negative – I merely linked the newsnight post to highlight what angle he’s coming from.
posts 5+10 would give you a good start.

51. Chaise Guevara

@ 50 Cylux

Well, people who grow up in single-arent homes have less good outcomes on average, so it’s fair to call it a negative in that sense. I disagree with him that we should do something about it, though. People can live their own lives.

But that’s the third or fourth post by you since I asked you to defend or withdraw your claim ["So we’re to give up on the idea that perhaps partners might refrain from being abusive in the first place? Rather than shame people who are abusive in relationships we’re instead to shame those who are abused in such relationships?"] and you’re STILL dodging. You need to back this up or admit it’s nonsense. Stop wandering off on tangents.

@51 I have defended it, I refuse to believe that anyone who so casually lumps single parent households in with abusive ones has good intentions. Especially when their idea can in and of itself be used as a further justification for victim bashing – “well we warned you all about it at school didn’t we? You’ll get no sympathy off of me!” Given the empathises on personal responsibility, that’s the least I’d expect.

53. Chaise Guevara

@ 52

So in other words, you’re completely making it up.

54. Chaise Guevara

@ Cylux

To be clear: your entire basis for your accusations is that Blah included abusive and single-parent homes in a list of negatives. This hardly means he thinks they are the same thing. Other negatives would include global warming and that plastic wrapping that’s really hard to get off CDs. OMG I must think that abusive homes are global warming!!!

Even if your above chain of logic held, which it blatantly doesn’t, it would STILL be an enormous leap to say that he therefore thinks we should shame victims and let perpetrators off the hook. In fact, “enormous leap” is not as good a term as “barefaced lie” in this context.

What I don’t get is why you’re making up bullshit to throw at Blah, who’s arguing that we should do more to prevent domestic violence, when there are people on this thread who genuinely do seem to resent the idea that we help people who have been battered by their families.

Ask any single mother who started out in what she believed to be a loving relationship which went into the rocks, if she would rather be in a loving relationship in which her and her children’s emotional spiritual and material needs were met by the combined efforts of the two, I think you will find the answer is yes. Then explain to this women that education could be provided on the subject of relationship psychology, to give them a solid understanding of the traits in partners to avoid, from mental and emotional manipulation to actual physical violence.

And as importantly education concerning the traits and actions that really do make a relationship sustainable and fulfilling, for the long term. We all have learning to do as far as relationships are concerned, some learn faster than others and some never learn at all, but you go tell this women that although education on this massively important area of life could be offered, it wont be, because if it were that would be “victim blaming”. The teaching of tools to aid some one in life highlights “personal responsibility” and if you get it wrong you will get no “sympathy”.

Single parents are a negative and the situations they develop out of are varied and many. The death or a partner for instance can not be addressed in anyway, the break up of an abusive marriage however does have the possibility of being avoided even before it starts. The issues we can help people avoid, we really should. I do not view single mothers who have left abusive relationships as a problem ( financials and effect upon the children aside) I view them as individuals who have had a problem, a problem which the country’s educational system made zero effort to educate upon and help to avoid.

I do however view single mothers who never had an intention of raising there children as a two parent family unit to be a problem, a women who used to live across the road from me for instance, four children, four different dads. People can live as they like but when the country is paying for your house and the upbringing of your children and you entirely planned it that way, that’s an issue.

“So we’re to give up on the idea that perhaps partners might refrain from being abusive in the first place?”

Left to your own devices, in what century exactly would you give this up? Acknowledging that it simply does not work? Why do partners abuse? The reasons are many, a very important one is however that they have a partner to abuse in the first place. When we have a culture amongst women in which being on the receiving end of abuse is a NO, full stop, and any man of those tendency’s is a man with a long life ahead of him all by him self, that’s when we will have a society with the least cases of partner abusive possible.

56. Chaise Guevara

@ 55 Blah

Well, I’m sure there’s some value in campaigns aimed at potential abusers. But you’re right: we can condemn abuse all we like, but that won’t stop it happening. It’s probably easier to help good people maintain caution than to encourage bad people to become good.

In terms of perpetrator-focused stuff, we’ve probably already leapt the biggest hurdle, in that domestic violence is generally now seen as a moral wrong, and is reported to the police.

@54 This is a thread about how provisions for women’s refuges, rape crisis centres etc are being cut, I pointed out that IDS’s latest policy proposal was, if anything, going to make things worse for women in those situations. Which set blah off. Furthermore, relationship psychology lessons will be about as effective as drugs and sex ed lessons currently are at eradicating substance abuse and risky sexual practices, ie not even close to getting rid of the need for sexual health clinics and drug uptake. So provision of refuges etc will still be required. And IDS harebrained plan will still be devestating. (Hell, by managing to mix up ‘same parents from birth’ with ‘married’ SMFS would actually have created a more progressive plan than IDS has)
I understand that prevention is better than cure, but education is not quite the panacea we’d like to believe.

@ Chaise

Well, I’m sure there’s some value in campaigns aimed at potential abusers.

Yes, of course there is!!!

As an example, last night my wife made a cheese omelette when, in actual fact, I fancied a nice lamb shank. I was just about to thump her when an ad came on TV saying that domestic violence was a bad thing.

Realising the error of my ways I immediately decided not slap her around after all and got stuck into the omelette instead.

Is that the sort of value you mean?

By the way, I also liked that other one about not putting lit fireworks in your mouth.

“Which set blah off.”

You are the only one who has been “set off” in this thread, I simply responded to the pathetic way you frame things.

“Furthermore, relationship psychology lessons will be about as effective as drugs and sex ed lessons ”

You have zero standing to claim this, on a side note drugs & sex are pleasurable and its understandable why the less grounded explore it to the extreme. Being in an abusive relationship is not a pleasure and it can happen to any one because they are unable to spot the warning signs telling them what there relationship is developing into, slowly trapped and manipulated.

“I understand that prevention is better than cure, but education is not quite the panacea we’d like to believe.”

You have zero interest in anything other than maintaining the status quo.

60. Chaise Guevara

@ Cylux

“This is a thread about how provisions for women’s refuges, rape crisis centres etc are being cut, I pointed out that IDS’s latest policy proposal was, if anything, going to make things worse for women in those situations. Which set blah off.”

It didn’t “set him off”, he just responded to your post. But I’m not sure why we need a potted history of the conversation.

“Furthermore, relationship psychology lessons will be about as effective as drugs and sex ed lessons currently are at eradicating substance abuse and risky sexual practices, ie not even close to getting rid of the need for sexual health clinics and drug uptake. So provision of refuges etc will still be required.”

Agreed, but I’m not arguing with this and I don’t think Blah is either.

“And IDS harebrained plan will still be devestating.”

I can’t really comment on this till I’ve seen it. Do you have a link?

“I understand that prevention is better than cure, but education is not quite the panacea we’d like to believe.”

Nobody’s saying it is. You raise a good comparison with sex ed: I imagine that education here would improve matters notably, but it’s hardly going to put the matter to rest.

61. Chaise Guevara

@ 58 pagar

Yes, of course there is!!!

As an example, last night my wife made a cheese omelette when, in actual fact, I fancied a nice lamb shank. I was just about to thump her when an ad came on TV saying that domestic violence was a bad thing.

Realising the error of my ways I immediately decided not slap her around after all and got stuck into the omelette instead.

Is that the sort of value you mean?”

No. I’m not talking about a TV ad called “Chaps! Stop beating the missus!”

Firstly, by “campaigns” (and I could have been clearer here) I really meant “initiatives”, so including but not limited to educational stuff. Stricter sentencing might or might not work, for example. Maybe there’s some forms of rehab we could try to reduce reoffending. I don’t know offhand.

Educational stuff obviously wouldn’t be of the farcical kind you’re describing. It might encourage people to report abusers, for example.

Chaise – I linked it up @ 20. Do keep up.

63. Chaise Guevara

@ Cylux

20 wasn’t addressed to me, no need to be an arse. Yes, I agree that it’s ridiculous. Seems to be channelling the fifties. And I really don’t see why “same parents from birth” is so important, unless of course it’s the boost the dramatic numbers of children in so-called unstable families.

@ Chaise

Educational stuff obviously wouldn’t be of the farcical kind you’re describing

My point is that the purpose of Public Service Announcements is not actually to tackle the issue directly (you agree that it is farcical in this instance). Their purpose is usually to affect the climate in which the behaviour takes place and is viewed.

It could be argued they are used to try to mould and manipulate opinion (and that is one of the reasons I believe they should be dispensed with).

In libertarian circles, at least, violence is viewed as one of the most heinous crimes and I think that, everywhere, violence against women is seen as beyond the pale. So PSAs to “educate” people that it is wrong are pretty much a waste of time. Nobody is arguing it is a “good thing”, probably not even the perpetrator.

So, assuming we want to stop the violence rather than influence opinion, I would have thought the way to deter potential abusers is by the threat of much more severe sentencing.

65. Chaise Guevara

@ 64 pagar

“My point is that the purpose of Public Service Announcements is not actually to tackle the issue directly (you agree that it is farcical in this instance). Their purpose is usually to affect the climate in which the behaviour takes place and is viewed.”

Sure. I think some of them might have a direct effect (those drink-driving ones, for example) by pushing the potential horror that could come from an activity people don’t really think about. But in this case it would be silly.

“It could be argued they are used to try to mould and manipulate opinion (and that is one of the reasons I believe they should be dispensed with).”

Should we really have a problem with manipulating opinion on the level of “breaking the law is a bad idea”?

“In libertarian circles, at least, violence is viewed as one of the most heinous crimes and I think that, everywhere, violence against women is seen as beyond the pale. So PSAs to “educate” people that it is wrong are pretty much a waste of time. Nobody is arguing it is a “good thing”, probably not even the perpetrator.”

By the time they’re perpetrators, almost certainly. You might do better by influencing these people when they’re kids, as Blah suggests – in truth, I think soap operas and the like are quite good at this anyway.

“So, assuming we want to stop the violence rather than influence opinion, I would have thought the way to deter potential abusers is by the threat of much more severe sentencing.”

Very possibly, but I don’t know what sentences are like now, and obviously you can ALWAYS say they should be more severe. I’d say the same about rehab, with similar caveats.

66. Derek Hattons Tailor

The traits to look out for are well known

Male

A propensity to violence in all domains

A criminal history of violence

Exposure to domestic violence in childhood

Problematic substance abuse

Low educational attainment

Low socio economic status

Lower than average intelligence

In short the local hard nut is, all other things being equal, likely to be potentially abusive. In general, people are either violent, or they aren’t.
The problem is, some women make very poor mate choices, arguably they have a very limited choice of mates to start with, but continually casting them as powerless to change this or “supporting” them to remain in abusive relationships is counter productive.

@63 It’s mainly to do with that research about the 50% of 15 year olds. It’s also the perfect set up for the Door-in-the-face technique.

68. Chaise Guevara

@ Cylux

Good points and agreed.

@ Derek

“supporting them to remain in abusive relationships is counter productive”

Um, who’s suggesting this?

The traits to look out for are well known

Male

A propensity to violence in all domains

A criminal history of violence

Exposure to domestic violence in childhood

Problematic substance abuse

Low educational attainment

Low socio economic status

Lower than average intelligence

Oh dear.

Apart from male, you couldn’t be more wrong. Only 15% of abusers are violent outside the family. A similar percentage have a criminal record. Around 30% have a history of domestic violence in childhood and a similar number have problematic substance use issues. Abusers attain all levels of education with some evidence to show that the more educated are more brutal. Similarly they come from across the socio-economic spectrum with no particular bias at any point.

In other words, every factor you list apart from gender applies to only a minority of abusers.

70. Chaise Guevara

@ Spicy

For that matter, there’s debate over whether or not domestic violence is predominantly male-on-female as it’s usually presented to be. There’s reason to believe that female-on-male DV is just less likely to be reported (victim may be embarrassed, nobody may see it as a big deal, victim probably less likely to end up with serious injuries etc).

It’s the old crimes committed vs crimes reported issue.

“Oh dear.

Apart from male”

8-)

Yea that was meant to be a rolling eyes face, appears the icons here differ to instant messenger, both male & females can and are offenders, obviously.

70

Agreed, but it appears that 90% of the deaths caused by DV are women and, unsurprisingly, as you suggest, the majority of serious injuries are caused by male on female violence.

My wife assures me that there are organizations that do deal with men suffering from DV and that there is a steady increase of men who will report female violence.

I’ve noticed that when LC have posted on DV, some commentators, Derek@13 for example, then start quoting other examples of violence to counter the view that women’s DV services shouldn’t be cut. The thing is, we need to have measures that effectively counter all violence, withdrawing services from one particular social group is likely to increase overall violence and will do nothing for the other victims of violence.

74. Chaise Guevara

@ 73 steveb

“Agreed, but it appears that 90% of the deaths caused by DV are women and, unsurprisingly, as you suggest, the majority of serious injuries are caused by male on female violence.”

Certainly. If you could choose to wipe one of the forms of DV from existence, you’d choose male-on-female out of pragmatism. Men are normally capable of doing more damage.

“My wife assures me that there are organizations that do deal with men suffering from DV and that there is a steady increase of men who will report female violence.”

Attitudes seem to be improving. I believe we just opened the first men’s refuge, too.

“I’ve noticed that when LC have posted on DV, some commentators, Derek@13 for example, then start quoting other examples of violence to counter the view that women’s DV services shouldn’t be cut. The thing is, we need to have measures that effectively counter all violence, withdrawing services from one particular social group is likely to increase overall violence and will do nothing for the other victims of violence.”

I think some people automatically dislike anything that seems designed to solely help one gender. I sympathise with that, but think it’s wrong-headed in this case. And as me and others have been pointing out already, DV is a special case in some ways (because it’s domestic) and needs targeted solutions.

“The top 152 councils in England are cutting spending to women’s services by an average of £44,914 each compared to budgets since 2009.”

I would like to see evidence that those councils can’t each easily make savings of £44,914 in other areas – e.g. top managerial pay and perks – before blaming government for being ‘forced’ to cut such front line services. But perhaps someone can supply us with ample evidence that councils have been making comparatively painless cuts at the top. Personally I doubt that such evidence exists.

@ Chaise

You are correct that there is debate and I did not mean to imply that all abusers are male but as others have pointed out, repeated assaults, causing injuries and fear in the victim are committed overwhelmingly by men on women. (For example, BCS data shows that of those experiencing 4 or more assaults, 89% are female). Under-reporting by men is less to do with shame and embarrassment (which are also factors for women) and more to do with the men thinking it was no big deal.

This does not mean that abused men do not deserve services or our sympathy and support but the help they need is of a different type to that needed by most abused women. Women generally have more to fear after they leave than when they stay (76% of partner homicide victims are killed after they end the relationship) whereas the reverse is the case for (straight) men.

A lot of resentful men are going to be delighted. More money for organisations lobbying to give them back the right to generally lord it over their families.

78. Chaise Guevara

@ 76 Spicey

I’m not sure how we actually know all that given that you can’t count an unreported crime. I realise that female victims are also shamed into silence, but I can’t help thinking it must be even more likely with men, what with the whole “beaten up by a girl” thing.

Good point about different services, or a different balance of services, being needed. Also possible that women are less likely to have financial independence (if they’ve given up their job to look after their child, etc.).

Blah, I don’t think you have any idea how abusive relationships happen. Let me give you a clue: they don’t start by being abusive. You cannot tell when you first start seeing someone whether they are going to abuse you, because they are on their best behaviour in the early days of the relationship. And no you cannot ‘tell’ based on their socio-economic status or level of education.

Most of the time the abuse starts when some level of commitment is made e.g. moving in together (an obvious one) or having a baby (quite often, domestic abuse starts when a woman becomes pregnant). The reasons should be clear: it’s because the victim can’t easily get away.

Even then, abuse doesn’t go from 0 to 100 immediately. Abusers slowly chip away at their victims’ self esteem, and gradually increase their control under the guise of being ‘protective’ etc. They take advantage of the trust they have carefully built up in the early stages of the relationship, to isolate and manipulate their victim. The first hit is usually accompanied by tearful apologies and promises to never do it again.

By the time it comes to serious violence, the abuse has probably been going on for a very long time, and any attempt to leave will be stopped either by more violence, threats to kill or ultimately, murder. Indeed the most dangerous time for a DV victim is when she is leaving or has just left her partner.

It’s all very well to suggest education for girls to help them to say ‘no’ to abuse. But women who have experienced DV do not see themselves as victims. They are usually strong intelligent women, who would never have imagined that DV would happen to them. But even if a woman leaves her partner the first time he hits her, where does she go if there are no refuges available?

Relationship education is important, for both genders, about respect, equality and the right way to treat people. But it’s not enough by itself. In any case, the blame must always lie with the perpetrator.

@ Chaise: I’m not sure how we actually know all that given that you can’t count an unreported crime.

We know (and of course it isn’t by any means perfect) from general crime surveys. The British Crime Survey for example asks a demographically representative set of 24,000 people a year using self-completion (thus private) questionnaires for experiences of domestic abuse. These are supplemented by other similar pieces of work such as the follow up study that the Scottish Executive did on all men who answered yes to the question about domestic violence. There’s a list here: http://www.mensadviceline.org.uk/pages/bibliography.html

@ Chaise: We ‘know’ (and it is of course by no means perfect) in the same way that we know about the under-reporting from women ie through general crime surveys. The British Crime Survey for example asks 24,000 people each year (demographically representative). Questions about domestic violence are done via a self-completion questionnaire (ie privately). This is then supplemented by other pieces of research that do not rely on reports to official agencies such as the one commissioned by the Scottish Executive who followed up on all Scottish men who answered yes to domestic violence in the British Crime Survey (Gadd, D et al, (2002) Domestic Abuse Against Men in Scotland) or by wholly separate research studies.

82. Chaise Guevara

@ Spicy

Cool – just checking you weren’t using a random stat found down the back of the internet!


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