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Changing belief: Observations on the last 25 years of challenge to domestic violence Professor Betsy Stanko Senior Advisor, Strategic Analysis Strategy,

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Presentation on theme: "Changing belief: Observations on the last 25 years of challenge to domestic violence Professor Betsy Stanko Senior Advisor, Strategic Analysis Strategy,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Changing belief: Observations on the last 25 years of challenge to domestic violence Professor Betsy Stanko Senior Advisor, Strategic Analysis Strategy, Modernisation and Performance Directorate

2 Public service ethos If you get police services right for women – especially for a woman facing domestic violence who has five children who speaks no English and has no right to be in the country – you deliver the finest customer services any public service can offer.

3 Naming domestic violence Feminist voices and feminist activism brought violence against women to the forefront Challenged the way public sector support mobilised (or failed to mobilise) to prevent death Harnessed the tools of ‘evidence’ from social science – victimisation surveys most prominently Demanded that protection – named in human rights treaties such as the right to life – apply to women too

4 What is now common knowledge about domestic violence? Domestic violence – largely the kind of violence effecting women - takes many forms and has psychological, physical, and economic consequences. Research in England suggests that in any one year, one in nine or ten women experience some form of domestic violence. Roughly one in 4 women and one in 7 men report a physical assault by a current or former partner in their lifetime (England and Wales).

5 What is now common knowledge about domestic violence? Assaults on women are more injurious, lead to more harm and greater consequences (in general). The dominant form of violence against women coming to the attention of police is perpetrated by known men. In London alone, this represents 75% of women victims of all reported violence to the person.

6 What is now common knowledge about domestic violence? Abuse, sexual harassment, rape, battering – these are still common features in many women’s lives. Estimated costs of domestic violence in England and Wales in 2001 are £23 billion (Walby 2004). Estimated costs of each rape is £76000.

7 And we can impact on violence against women The latest British Crime Survey data from England and Wales show that domestic violence had dropped by 59% since We have in London experienced a drop in domestic homicides – largely, I believe, because of the joint efforts of a host of agencies, and to better training and risk assessments by police.

8 Visibility and Seeing: what are we still missing? We must become as familiar as possible to the ways in which familial and the familiar continue to place women and girls ‘vulnerable’ to abuse We must also constantly review the ways we currently see and identify domestic violence in our everyday work.

9 Visibility and domestic violence: what we need to see to adapt our approach for the benefit of women Nearly all acts of violence are either witnessed directly or known about by third parties Most ‘violence’ people report is verbal abuse directed to undermine/attack ‘who’ the person ‘is’ Insults, abuse, comments and threat draw upon knowable, social capital as resources of abuse Racism, homophobia, violence against women, groups or ethnic groups are purposeful, targeted, and often spatially grounded.

10 Innovations in England and Wales Specialist services in public services Multi agency forums; multi agency risk assessment panels Primary prevention – schools and health Reduce repeat victimisation – by targeting those who repeatly contact statutory agencies Understand diversity and silences of victims – emotional, social and cultural differences

11 Strategic approach Reduce death – what are the lessons from domestic violence homicides? Independent support and advice Early and multi agency intervention and begin to build a seamless response and support network Join up criminal justice response Challenge tolerance of domestic violence – in schools, in public, in public sector staff policy

12 Tactics in sharing knowledge Day to count domestic violence Tool for local awareness Tool for local action

13 Harnessing government commitment Legislative change Partnership – critical role of the voluntary sector Central government – strategic and steady progress Diverse needs, diverse populations

14 What our own information really tell us about rape and its links to domestic violence? The 2007 London Metropolitan Rape Review found that no fewer than 87% of rape allegations involved victims who were either: Under 18 years old; reported a rape that was Alcohol – related sexual assault; Shows one in five reporting all allegations involving Domestic violence; And those with Mental health issues were the least likely to have their allegations recorded as a crime, result in a charge of an offender.

15 Public service: where challenge is still the greatest The key obstacle to the investigation and prosecution of rape in developed and developing societies – is disbelief of women’s accounts of forced sexuality. Police investigation needs to offer support to name vulnerability to forced sex as a form of criminal exploitation through the very act of imposed sex. Investigation unfolds - to prosecutors, judges and juries – what is a believable case, in substance and in meaning, of sexual violation. Investigation documents the harm imposed from exploitation of women’s sexuality.

16 Leading to success in best responses to challenging violence against women Get ‘the basics’ right: sympathetic hearing and treatment of the victim, accurate organisational recording of the reach for help which serves as a piece of strategic analysis about who reaches for help, good supervision to make sure that we consistently do the best we can to assist.

17 Harness what we know to help us with want we could do… Start with what we do know: what happens between those who are known to one another who are already calling us for help? People are different - differential impact, differential vulnerability, differential resources – but that serious violence is serious violence – why don’t we treat it this way? We can find patterns of harm in routine sources of our information and those of our partners – and we can address these patterns together We can probe known information, encourage consultation and dialogue to discover the silences; we can continue the ‘big’ conversation in all of our communities.


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