Category Archives: Domestic

Tories vote down plan to register stalkers and domestic abusers – because of how it would affect them?

Priti Patel: she initially said she would support a register of stalkers and domestic abusers, but reneged on that promise when it came to a vote. Was it because it wouldn’t directly target immigrants?

Boris Johnson’s government is showing us in increasingly blatant ways that Tories only ever make law for their own profit.

David Cameron’s Greensill scandal came about because it seems he designed his law to register lobbyists specifically to ignore the lobbyists who would employ him in the future – to quote just one example.

So what are we to make of this?

The government is facing growing anger after voting against putting serial stalkers and domestic abusers on a national register, despite briefing they were likely to support the measures following the death of Sarah Everard.

Conservative MPs voted against amendments to the domestic abuse bill on Thursday that would have placed serial domestic abusers and stalkers on the current Violent and Sex Offender Register (Visor).

MPs also voted down House of Lords-supported amendments that would have given family court judges training on sexual abuse and provided greater protection to migrant victims of domestic violence.

Why would a Tory government reject a change in the law that would make people safer?

Is it because they don’t think it would affect them?

Or is it because they do? Think about it.

Source: Anger as Tory MPs vote against register for stalkers and domestic abusers | Domestic violence | The Guardian

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If Tories don’t support abusers, why does Universal Credit push people to stay in abusive relationships?

Abuse: the Tories have ensured that people can’t escape if it means claiming Universal Credit. That way lie only debt, depression and mental breakdown.

Twisted Tory rules mean that people are financially encouraged to stay in abusive relationships rather than claim Universal Credit.

The Conservative government has deliberately weighted the conditions under which the so-called benefit is paid to make it more difficult for people to survive by claiming it than by living with an abuser – even if this means endangering their own lives.

People with disabilities are particularly at risk. But then, those of us who are familiar with the Tory record on disability have come to expect that.

Unite the Union has provided the story of Emma (not her real name), who lived a life of psychological abuse, control and marital rape until she was helped to divorce her husband and strike out on her own.

She did not think there would be any hardship as her husband, it seems, was a genuine skiver who refused to work, meaning she had been the main earner – despite being able to work only 24 hours per week, due to a serious autoimmune disease.

But the Tories made sure she would suffer.

Previously, as a working person, she had been receiving tax credits, and would have been better-off had she continued to do so.

But the Tories used her change of circumstances to force her onto Universal Credit, leaving her £350 per month worse-off.

There are several reasons for this:

The disabled worker allowance she used to receive under tax credits was stopped. This is because the allowance can only be accessed through a work capability assessment, which grants benefits to people unable to work, rather than for disabled people who can work.

The Citizens Advice Bureau has stated that this has resulted in a Catch 22 where “a worker must be assessed as not fit for work to receive targeted in-work support”.

Have you ever heard of anything as flat-out daft?

I bet if anyone tried to point it out, they’d have to fight an expensive court case before the Tories did anything about it, too.

Worse still, Emma ran into a problem that has now been challenged in court, with a ruling made against it:

Her wages are paid on the last Wednesday of every month rather than on the same date. This resulted in her claim being cancelled and her payments being stopped for three months. She was also ineligible to claim her entitlement back for the month in which the claim was ended.

This is a widely experienced problem for Universal Credit claimants whose regular wages are paid on different days each month and stems from an ill-considered policy stipulation that the benefit amount is calculated to a strictly defined time period.

Now Emma is among 85,000 people who should be able to claim compensation, after the Court of Appeal have ruled that it was “irrational” for the Department for Work and Pensions – and the Secretary of State in particular – to ignore the fact that computer systems would assume that claimant had received double the money expected and cancel their payments.

The Conservative government spent two years fighting this court case – indicating that, despite being well aware of the issue, Tories were determined to continue depriving some of the poorest workers in the UK of vital benefits – including victims of outrageous domestic abuse like Emma.

I asked in my previous article about the court case whether the Tories were sadists or perverts, commenting that “perverts” seemed closest to the mark as one of the judges had described the situation as “perverse”.

Considering Emma’s case, it seems they were sadists as well.

The court ruling came too late for her, by the way – forced into an ever-mounting debt crisis with not even an offer of support from the Department for Work and Pensions, the weight of a life suffering abuse came crashing over her and she suffered a nervous breakdown.

She is now diagnosed as suffering with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.

After 22 years as a healthcare professional in which she had always paid her bills, taxes and pension contributions, she now says she is “mortgaged up to the hilt… living off a credit card and have taken out two personal loans”.

So Universal Credit has put Emma exactly where the Tories want her – deeply in debt and forced to work like a beast of burden in the forlorn hope of clearing that debt again.

Consider the fact that 85,000 people are likely to have been put in the same situation by the ‘pay date’ scandal alone – never mind those who lost the disabled worker allowance, and it seems clear that the Tories are trying to create a “zombie economy” – with working people forced to wear themselves out trying to pay off an impossibly-high debt while their creditors sit back and count their profits.

It seems a limited amount of help is available for people who have suffered domestic abuse – but anyone seeking it must provide “written evidence” (of what kind?) within one month of discussing it with a work coach.

Emma is clear about the end result:

“Had I known that I would lose my tax credits and be transferred to Universal Credit before I separated from my ex-husband, I most definitely would have remained in the marriage and that is a worrying thought.

“Universal Credit, I believe, traps people in unhealthy relationships and causes more difficulties to individuals who are already in a vulnerable and distressing situation.”

So much for Iain Duncan Smith’s brainchild.

The only way for vulnerable people like Emma to avoid its debt trap is to go back into domestic degradation and abuse.

And the only conclusion we can draw is that Conservative politicians have designed the system to achieve this.

So it would be fair to say the Conservative government – and every MP who is a member of it – in league with the worst kind of physical, psychological and sexual abusers.

If they try to deny it, let them explain why they designed Universal Credit that way – and why they fight court cases to keep it that way.

Source: Domestic abuse survivor speaks out about Universal Credit nightmare

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Coronavirus: where’s the help for domestic abuse victims during lockdown?

Behind closed doors: abusers could be having the time of their life in the lockdown. What is the Tory government doing to protect victims?

Labour’s new Shadow Home Secretary is right on this.

But let’s not be too praising just yet; there has been a lot of concern about domestic abuse victims in the media, after the lockdown was announced. And for a very good reason.

After all, it was – potentially, at least – locking victims in with their abusers for periods of weeks at a time.

The “pressure cooker” effect has created increased demand for charity aid, with helplines and online advice sites raising concern.

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, has said victims of domestic abuse and child sexual abuse have not been forgotten – but she appears to have done nothing to help them.

What are they supposed to do?

Organisations providing domestic abuse support services during the Covid-19 crisis must get an emergency financial package from the government, the new shadow home secretary has said in his first intervention in the role.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, who was appointed to the shadow cabinet by the new Labour leader Keir Starmer on Sunday, has written to his Conservative counterpart Priti Patel to request funds for organisations that run “frontline” domestic abuse services, as well as to turn underused hotel chains and university halls into emergency accommodation.

Source: Labour urges emergency aid for domestic abuse services | Society | The Guardian

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Government fails to properly fund domestic abuse refuges: a war on the vulnerable

Domestic violence: 60 per cent of people fleeing domestic abuse are refused access to refuges. The government says it is providing more funding but one in six refuges have closed since 2010.

A Conservative mouthpiece was on the BBC’s Politics Live this morning, saying that Brexit must be pushed through because it was stopping MPs from dealing with poverty that affects £14 million people in the UK today.

But the foul funding of refuges shows that Tories are lying – or at least being frugal with the truth – about any intention to tackle poverty or help vulnerable people.

In fact, Tory behaviour is more like a war on the vulnerable.

Oh, they announce huge amounts of funding – like the £15m raised by Robert Jenrick – but they don’t mention that it won’t actually help any individuals.

What is the intention, then? Is it just to appear saintly while actually damning people in hard times to intolerable living conditions?

The government has been criticised for failing to offer a sustainable funding solution to refuges providing support to women fleeing domestic abuse which have been “ravaged” by austerity measures.

Robert Jenrick, the Communities Secretary, has announced an additional £15 million for refuges and safe accommodation projects in 2020 to 2021.

However, frontline service providers have hit out at the pledge and argue it will not help to tackle the “funding crisis” faced by refuges because it does not provide money which can be spent on day to day costs of service provision.

One in six refuges have closed since 2010 and local authority spending on refuges has been slashed from £31.2m in 2010 to £23.9m in 2017. Some 60 per cent of women are turned away from refuges because there is not enough space.

Source: Government criticised for failing to provide sustainable funding solution to domestic abuse refuges | The Independent

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PM candidate’s neighbours were unsafe no matter what they did about his row with partner

Speak no evil: Boris Johnson may be learning – at long last – that he must be much more careful about the things he says and does.

In the row over the row at Boris Johnson’s partner’s flat last weekend, my sympathy is with the neighbour.

If Tom Penn had reported a violent domestic incident between Mr Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds without proof, his political supporters would have been screaming that he was doing it for political reasons and “where’s the evidence?”

But because he recorded the altercation, Mr Johnson’s political supporters are still claiming a political motivation in revealing that Mr Johnson had a domestic argument.

It seems clear to me that he would have been unsafe from criticism, no matter what he did.

Apparently the recording reveals Ms Symonds shouting “get off” and “get out of my flat”, and telling Mr Johnson, “You just don’t care for anything because you’re spoilt. You have no care for money or anything,” after saying he had ruined her sofa with red wine.

It seems clear that Mr Johnson didn’t leave. Does this suggest that this candidate for the most senior office of state has little regard for the will of the people, except when it coincides with his own?

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Tory rules try to push victims of domestic violence back into the hands of their abusers

We always knew Theresa May’s “hostile environment” extended to more people than immigrants and EU nationals.

She doesn’t like people from broken homes either. Perhaps it’s her puritanical, daughter-of-a-vicar blood.

Mrs May would prefer it if people – mostly women, of course – who suffer domestic abuse would suffer in silence, rather than burdening the Department for Work and Pensions with annoying claims for benefits.

Annoyingly – for her – the morals of the age require her government to present the appearance of one that cares when people come to harm.

So the DWP has devised a wealth of rules designed to make it seem it is doing its best for victims, while in fact keeping them in poverty and pain.

Alex Tiffin lists some of them on his Universal Credit Sufferer website:

There’s an entire page on getting help if you’re a victim of domestic abuse on the DWP website.

On the page it lists certain conditions, yes conditions, victims must meet.

They include;

“You will need written evidence from a person acting in an official capacity showing that:

  • your circumstances are consistent with those of a person who has had domestic violence or abuse inflicted, or threatened, upon them, during the 6 months prior to you notifying
  • you have made contact with the person acting in an official capacity to tell them about any incidents that have occurred in the past 6 months

“You must provide your evidence to Jobcentre Plus as soon as possible but no later than one calendar month after you first told us about the domestic violence and abuse.”

So a victim of domestic abuse not only has to open up to work coach about their abuse, then they get asked for proof?

The requirements do not end there. Once they’ve decided to accept that you have been a victim, you MAY be allowed a 13 week break from looking for work, but only if you satisfy the next set of criteria.

The most notable of them being,

“you have not had a 13 week break from work-related requirements as a result of previous domestic violence within the last 12 months”.

In some cases of domestic violence, the victim may return to their abuser. This is well known and it’s hard to think the DWP wouldn’t have known this.

This means a benefit claimant who’s endured repeated abuse, just has to battle on because they’ve been unfortunate enough to be abused twice in a year.

The simple fact is that life on benefits is appallingly hard – the Conservatives have deliberately made it so.

The system means survival is slightly easier for couples (at least, that has been This Writer’s experience) – and it is entirely possible that domestic abuse victims, in the impossible situation of being unable to find paying work and unable to survive under the cruel conditions of Universal Credit, end up believing they have no choice other than to return to their abuser.

Once there, DWP rules say they must stay for at least a year – no matter what abuse they suffer.

Some might even die.

But that’s why it’s called a “hostile environment”, you see.

The DWP won’t care because the death of a claimant is listed as a “positive benefit outcome”.

Information on where abuse victims can get genuine help is available in the Universal Credit Sufferer article.

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