The current system is that if the Local Authority (LA) doesn’t accept a victim’s evidence, then victims of domestic abuse are left with 2 so called, options:
- Leave the property for their own safety & become homeless.
- Return to the perpetrator.
This of course would be the same for male victims of domestic abuse. But it is a disproportionate action from LA on women, as women are the significantly higher % of domestic abuse victims.
I’m sure you would agree, hardly options at all.
The Local Authorities’ response was to dispute the evidence. Crisis Charity found this to be an all too common theme. The result being L A’s are increasing the vulnerability of domestic abuse victims. Leaving domestic abuse victims the options of making themselves intentionally homeless or returning to the abuse. Incredible in 2019 that this is seen as an acceptable way for a Local Authority to conduct their practices.
WHY SHOULD IT BE ANY DIFFERENT TO THIS?
Beyond the Local Authorities’ responsibilities, we do have the European Convention of Human Rights, which has been in place since the 1950’s. Domestic Abuse victims being dealt with in this barbaric way is multiple breaches of Human Rights.
Our domestic legislation on Domestic Abuse, the most up to date version; The Serious Crimes Act of 2015 specifies the 1st piece of evidence in a Domestic Abuse case is the victims statement declaring their view of themselves being a victim and their experiences to qualify that. You can see, that neither of these 2 pieces of legislation are good enough for our LA’s to accept a victim is a victim.
The LA’s view of clearly shows us that despite all the campaigning, changes, provision over that past 30+ years, little has changed in our collective cultural belief of victim blaming.
I have no doubt, that Local Authorities’ would disagree and maybe even defend their practices with statements of restricted budgets. On a basic Human Rights, decency and respect of a civil society this truly is not acceptable – restricted budgets or not. From the practices described here, you can when its between the £ and the person, the £ will always win.
THE FINANCIAL COST OF DOMESTIC ABUSE…
Here is something for you to think about. If it is our societies values is to prioritise money over people. Then think about what money can be saved by giving a domestic abuse victim the choices stated above?
If the victim has children & she is made homeless in her only option to flee, then social care will step in & remove the children from her care – this cost a lot of money.
To get food on the streets, a victim may turn to prostitution, or shop lifting, which could at some point require input from the police, maybe the court systems and maybe even prisons – this cost a lot of money.
If to get through the cold nights she turns to methods of self-medication, on top of untreated trauma, would require addiction and mental health services – these cost a lot of money.
If she is beaten, raped, hypothermic, found dead then emergency health services will become involved – this cost a lot of money.
So, I have to ask, with such restricted budgets in all sectors, Local Authorities’ turning away a victim at the point she is trying to get away from her abuser – where is the financial saving?
Government proudly declaring its plans to release millions for domestic abuse services across England and Wales is hardly even a drop in the ocean.
The above scenarios and generally society dealing with victims of domestic abuse in this way currently costs £66 billion per year according to Government reports.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
So why are we made to feel that any millions is ‘great news’? Why isn’t it reported in the news every day about the practices of Local Authorities that create more social issues as well as an increased mopping up bill?
Because, they say it’s too big an issue, or that it would generally make people too downhearted (!?!!) I for one, would not be downhearted to hear that the issue was being dealt with humanely and meaningfully. That actual amounts of death and abuse in homes was reduced, our prisons less full, our services less demanded upon.
Join me in the campaign. Do your bit, keep the conversation going with friends, family, colleagues to make people aware and raise your concerns with your local Councillors and say #NoMore