Tag Archives: domestic

Brexiteers’ justification for breaking international law on Brexit is illiterate. Why hasn’t Braverman resigned?

Suella Braverman: She used to chair a secret group of Brexit-supporting MPs and is now Attorney General. Yes, she is as daft as she looks.

In trying to humiliate a leading Remainer – and justify its own contempt for international law – Boris Johnson and his government have made the UK a laughing-stock once again.

And our Attorney General, Suella Braverman, should be offering up her resignation. Rather than uphold the rule of law, she has sided with a government that intends to break it, turning the UK into nothing better than a rogue state.

Almost as bad, she offered as justification for this lawbreaking a Supreme Court ruling that Parliament is sovereign in domestic matters – a ruling won by Remain campaigner Gina Miller in a challenge to previous Brexit legislation.

But the same Supreme Court ruling made it clear that this does not excuse the UK government from honouring its obligations under international law.

Here’s Braverman’s statement, as exulted by Brexiteers. I’ve found a more level-headed response to it:

What is the appropriate response? This:

Perhaps. This:

Mmm… How about two in-depth Twitter threads? First this:

(After that lesson in the law, I think the Secret Barrister may be allowed to advertise a book about it.)

And then there’s this:

It is not for members of the public to challenge this.

I have a feeling that the Tory government will face serious and well-funded legal challenges both from within the UK and outside.

I am concerned that this will lead to an equally serious financial penalty – a bill that, once again, the taxpayer will have to pay.

We always end up bailing out these incompetent Tories when we should be sending them to jail instead.

Last word goes to Mark Elliott (again):

It is par for the course in a government that is as bent as a nine-bob note.

But Suella Braverman’s resignation is definitely required.

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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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This leading Tory just made a mockery of his party’s claims about the climate crisis

Climate denier: Matt Hancock.

So much for green Conservatism.

Matt Hancock has said he’s happy for the entire planet to burn, as long as businesspeople get to their meetings a bit quicker.

Oh, and he’s the Health Secretary, by the way.

Do you think that might be the reason the Tories have helped save the airline Flybe, when they couldn’t give a damn about retail firms like Mothercare (for example)?

This Conservative government is a sick joke – and the laugh is on everybody who voted for it.

The Tory Health Secretary has declared Brits should carry on taking short-haul internal flights despite the climate crisis.

Matt Hancock said people shouldn’t cut down on domestic air travel – because it’s quicker than taking the train.

It comes despite Chancellor Sajid Javid saying Tory plans for government were “the most green manifesto any party has ever published”.

Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said: “Either Matt Hancock thinks airplanes run on fairy dust, or he does know they’re a major source of planet-heating emissions but simply doesn’t care.

“Whichever it is, his comments fly in the face of the Conservative manifesto commitment to tackling the climate emergency.”

Source: Top Tory says we should all carry on taking short flights despite climate crisis – Mirror Online

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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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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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Funding for women’s refuges should be mandatory, says Starmer

The shadow Brexit secretary tweeted that it was better to ‘save lives and protect’ than ‘investigate afterwards’ [Image: Martin Argles for the Guardian].

It’s good to see MPs of the calibre of Keir Starmer fighting the Tory project to support domestic (and other) abuse.

This site demonstrated how the Tories are supporting abusers in a recent article.

The Tory government says it is providing £100m of dedicated funding for tackling violence against women and girls, lasting until 2020. This includes a £20m fund to support refuges and other accommodation-based services, which ministers say will provide 2,200 additional bed spaces.

According to whom? Is there any independent information on the cost of keeping refuges open across the UK? How do we know these bed spaces are additional, and in addition to what?

The Tories are also threatening to publish a “landmark” draft Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill “to protect and support victims, recognise the life-long impact domestic abuse has on children and make sure agencies effectively respond to domestic abuse”.

You know it will be a travesty.

Keir Starmer, the shadow cabinet member and former chief prosecutor, has called for mandatory funding for refuges amid criticism over a shake-up of funding for women’s services.

Abuse survivors and charities have warned the lives of vulnerable women and children will be put at risk by government plans to remove refuges and other forms of short-term supported housing from the welfare system.

On average, housing benefit makes up 53% of refuge funding and as there is no obligation for local authorities to fund refuges, is the last remaining guaranteed source of income.

Instead of being able to use housing benefit to fund refuges, the government proposes handing a “ring-fenced” grant to councils for short-term supported housing. However, this does not exclusively cover refuges – it is also aimed at older people, homeless people, offenders, people with mental illnesses and drug addicts.

The document detailing the proposals, published in October, contains a caveat that funding for refuges will be looked at in November 2018, but provides no further details or reassurance.

Starmer, the former director of public prosecutions (DPP) and shadow Brexit secretary, called for mandatory funding.

Source: Keir Starmer: make funding for women’s refuges mandatory | Politics | The Guardian


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Yes, Nusrat Ghani, let’s have that debate about MPs abusing power – we can look at your fellow Tories [STRONG LANGUAGE]

How can Tories complain about anybody’s attitude to women or minorities when Boris Johnson is Foreign Secretary?

Tory MP Nusrat Ghani reckons she will demand an urgent debate in the House of Commons about the incident in which Clive Lewis used the word “bitch” during a social event connected to the Labour Party, a month ago.

Some of us may find it worth comment that she wants an “urgent” debate about an incident that is a month old and is only being discussed now in order to distract the public from the growing list of the minority Conservative government’s failures. Where’s her demand for an urgent debate on her own government’s failure to support the will of Parliament and suspend the Universal Credit rollout?

Here are her tweets:

Oh, right. Using the word “bitch” implies a lack of respect for women. This Writer can certainly get on board with that – but not with the hypocrisy of saying it after reading an article about Mr Lewis on the Guido Fawkes blog, which has a record of abusing that word:

And what about the misogynistic abuse Guido‘s followers heap on women after they’ve been targeted on that website? Here’s an example:

Here’s another:

And there’s this one as well:

The event at which Mr Lewis misspoke was run, presented and owned by women – and no objection was raised at the time. Some have tried to raise indignation because a female voice was heard saying, “This is supposed to be a safe space”. Here’s the owner of that voice:

On top of all the foregoing is the fact that Mr Lewis himself has apologised for his words, which he accepts were completely inappropriate (even though the way they were said ran counter to the misogynistic use that is correctly vilified).

So we’ve established that the fake outrage over Mr Lewis is a storm in a teacup. But a debate could still be useful – to point out the many similar outrages caused by Conservative MPs.

I mean, opponents of the government could raise the obvious policy points:

But let’s admit it – the time would be far better-used discussing the transgressions of individual Tories. Aaron Bastani, whose social media organisation Novara hosted the event at which Mr Lewis said his offending words, listed a few possibles – including, for the sake of fairness, one example concerning a Labour MP:

Boris Johnson is worth an article in his own right – and the Metro has obligingly provided one. In it, Yvette Caster comments on his claim that women go to university because “they’ve got to find men to marry”, that female graduates are responsible for rising house prices – and are making it difficult for other families to get housing, that working women should get back to the home because they are responsible for young people’s antisocial behaviour.

There’s this: “Voting Tory will cause your wife to have bigger breasts and increase your chances of owning a BMW M3.”

I strongly recommend that you visit the article to experience the full horror.

But Mr Johnson isn’t the only Tory transgressor. What about James Heappey?

I wrote an article on Vox Political about this – ahem – “gentleman”, along with Tory Nick Harrington who said Ireland could “keep its f’king gypsies”. What charming men!

Moving back to the Cabinet, what about Michael Fallon, who called a journalist a “slut”, although it seems he would be more accurate if he applied the term to himself:

Fallon’s people have denied that he used the word but they would, wouldn’t they (to paraphrase Mandy Rice-Davies’s words about another Tory defence minister, in another scandal)?

And then there’s the deputy chairman of Bermondsey and Southwark Conservative Association, Rupert Myers QC. Journalist Kate Leaver has alleged that he “forced himself” on her – and I hope everybody reading this knows what that means. If it is true, then not only should he be imprisoned but he should be stripped of his Tory membership and dismissed from the bar (of the court – although it seems he should also be banned from reputable drinking establishments):

Finally, let’s all remember that the inappropriate misuse of language is not restricted to men speaking about women. Let us consider Anna Soubry:

This incident happened in the House of Commons itself, during a Parliamentary debate. Ms Soubry’s words were not picked up by any of the many microphones in the chamber, but she certainly appears to be using those words.

These are just a few examples of incidents in which, mainly, Conservatives have used their “position of power and establishment” abominably and it could easily be argued that they have undermined Parliament by doing so.

So, yes, Nusrat Ghani – let’s have that debate – and let us use it to expose your Tory colleagues as sexist, misogynist, and criminal vermin.


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Reports of sex crimes and domestic abuse are rocketing

The figures formed part of the service’s 10th report on violence against women and girls [Image: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP].

It is encouraging that more victims are coming forward in search of justice.

It seems likely that this is because of media coverage of high-profile sex crime investigations, such as those involving former prime minister Edward Heath and the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith.

Perhaps people are starting to believe that privilege no longer puts a person above suspicion.

It would be nice to believe that is true.

But the success rates for such prosecutions remain disappointingly low. Investigators need to buck up their ideas and methods, to make sure they present the best possible case.

It’s progress – but much more needs to be done.

Alleged sex crimes and domestic abuse offences now account for one in five cases pursued by the Crown Prosecution Service, it has been revealed.

They made up nearly 20% of the organisation’s caseload in 2016-17, compared with less than a tenth a decade ago after a huge surge in the categories, new figures show.

The rise tallies with a sharp jump in reports of sexual abuse to police seen in recent years in the wake of high-profile investigations launched after the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Source: Fifth of CPS cases are alleged sex crimes or domestic abuse | UK news | The Guardian


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Let’s give these Kippers a chance to come clean

Farage: The UKIP leader voted against an EU motion for laws to end marital rape in 2006 - now that such a law is going through the Welsh Assembly, would he hypocritically support it?

Farage: The UKIP leader voted against an EU motion for laws to end marital rape in 2006 – now that such a law is going through the Welsh Assembly, would he hypocritically support it?

Back in 2006, UKIP’s then-Members of the European Parliament voted against a resolution calling on member states to legislate against violence on women, including marital rape.

According to at least one UKIP supporter, this was done “simply because of their opposition to the EU and all its works”.

How unfortunate for UKIP, to be seen to support the continuation of domestic violence – including marital rape – simply because the idea of making laws against it was put forward by the wrong people.

That isn’t statesmanlike – it’s childish.

Now a UK legislature has taken forward the ideas in that EU resolution; the Gender-based Violence, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill aims to end domestic abuse, gender-based violence and sexual violence.

What a pity UKIP has no Assembly members!

If it did, the party could clarify its position – although this is not without its drawbacks.

If UKIP still opposes such legislation, then we will all know that the party supports a loathsome philosophy – that it is all right to commit physical and sexual abuse against a partner in the home.

If UKIP now supports it, we will all know that it is a party of hypocrites who would think nothing of allowing such abuse to continue, in order to push forward its own agenda.

Without Assembly members voting on the proposed Welsh law, UKIP does not need to clarify its position – but that lets Mr Farage and his friends off the hook far too easily.

Isn’t it time UKIP clarified exactly where it stands on this issue – so we can all be sure to despise that party for the right reason?

(The above article has been sent in letter form to the major national newspapers and the BBC. Let’s see if the mass media can do their job.)

(Note to any readers who are getting bored of all this concentration on UKIP: I promise I’ll write about something else tomorrow.)

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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