Tag Archives: domestic abuse

The Tory government has refused to lift the Bedroom Tax from victims of domestic abuse

He laughed: Remember, Iain Duncan Smith laughed at the terror he was causing a rape victim by using the Bedroom Tax to make it too expensive for her to keep a ‘panic room’. His Department for Work and Pensions later lost the case in the European Court of Human Rights but we should never forget that he and the other Tories thrive on terrorising vulnerable people.

The Tory government has confirmed that it will not lift the Bedroom Tax from victims of domestic violence, after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that it was an act of discrimination.

A cross-party group of MPs had written to demand that the government should lift the Bedroom Tax from such people.

The letter, signed by 44 MPs, was organised by Labour’s Stella Creasy and follows a decision by the European Court of Human Rights.

The Tory government had imposed the Bedroom Tax on a rape victim who had been given a panic room as part of a “sanctuary” scheme, but the ECHR had ruled that this was an act of discrimination as it meant she would be unable to afford to rent the property.

Full details are here.

According to the BBC:

44 MPs have written to Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey urging her “to take immediate action on this life and death matter.

“The application of the ‘bedroom tax’ to Sanctuary Schemes clearly undermines this aim.

“So too, seeking to encourage people to leave their homes for smaller ones as this policy does, is also in conflict with the aim of Sanctuary Schemes – which are designed to enable those at risk of domestic violence to remain in their homes safely.

“We call on the government to act now and create an exemption for this very vulnerable group.”

Last week, the DWP said it was “carefully considering the court’s decision”.

But now we’re being told: “The government said there were no plans to abolish its policy on the removal of the spare room subsidy.

“It said the policy helped contain ‘growing housing benefit expenditure’, strengthens work incentives and makes better use of available social housing.”

So it’s still all about the money: the Tories are ignoring the courts to continue persecuting victims of violence and rape – and putting their lives in danger. Think about that!

Source: MPs oppose ‘bedroom tax’ being applied to domestic abuse survivors – BBC News

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New domestic abuse rules should be welcomed

It’s so rare that we find a reason to applaud the government, I thought I should flag it up: The definition of domestic abuse has been widened to cover psychological intimidation and controlling behaviour.

From now on, these definitions will apply to victims aged 16 and 17, along with adults.

Take a look at the statistics: Police receive one report of domestic violence every minute. This is a huge issue across the country. It’s rife.

But there is no specific criminal offence of domestic violence. A definition referring to “threatening behaviour, violence or abuse” was adopted in 2004 but police and prosecutors interpreted the term in a narrow way that is believed to have let some perpetrators off.

This is a huge problem with many legal definitions – in trying to be exact, to make it easier to catch criminals, the lawyers make it easier for them to get away.

Now, preventing a partner from leaving the house or using a phone could lead to a prosecution.

I’ve known a lot of people – both male and female – who have suffered torturous lives because of dominating partners. This could really help them out.

As long as the lawyers don’t mess it up.

Domestic violence helpline could save lives

Anti-violence campaigner Joyce Watson AM has voiced her support for the launch of the All Wales Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Helpline.

The Helpline provides a 24 hour, bilingual information signposting service, to help and guide people with experience of domestic abuse or sexual violence, who are in need of access to services such as advice, emergency support, safety, and knowledge of their rights and options.

Joyce has campaigned for many years against violence, and set up candlelit services, first in Llandaff Cathedral some years ago, then last November in Brecon Cathedral, to raise awareness of violence against women and children.

The Mid and West Wales Assembly Member said: “This Helpline could be a lifeline to someone facing violence in their own home.

“The promise of 24 hour support, safety, signposting, and sanctuary will make a huge difference in far too many cases.

“In the last ten years there have been 12 homicides in the Dyfed Powys Police area, and seven of these involved domestic abuse.

“Domestic abuse is an issue for all of Wales, rural as well as urban. It accounts for a quarter of recorded crime in England and Wales, and in many instances children are witnesses to this abuse.”

The Helpline was first launched in 2004 as the Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline and has since taken over 215,000 calls from people in need of help and support.

Mrs Watson, who is a member of the Assembly All Party Group on violence against women and children, added: “Both physical and mental violence can have a devastating effect. If you feel isolated or endangered in your own home and you live in a rural community, help can feel a long way away.”

45 per cent of women have experienced some form of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

Last year police recorded 48,738 incidents across Wales, including 11,759 arrests and five homicides

Dyfed Powys Police recorded 1,943 domestic incidents

1,975 people entered Welsh refuges last year.

Minister for Local Government and Communities, Carl Sargeant, said: “Domestic abuse and sexual violence are simply not acceptable.

“I am passionate about this subject, and so I’m pleased that the Welsh Government has consistently maintained the budget dedicated to maintaining services such as the All Wales Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence Helpline. The Helpline is a key part of our Right to be Safe strategy.

“As the new Helpline launches we will experience an increase in callers. This is not a failure in our efforts to stamp out such issues, it’s a success in that we will actually be reaching more of the victims who desperately need the support of the Helpline. With the launch of the new Helpline I firmly believe we are heading in the right direction.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse contact the All Wales Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Helpline on 0808 80 10 800, or for more information go to www.allwaleshelpline.org.uk

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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