UK: Shut down this Rape "Guru" In Japan he told his students, “Dude, just grab her.” In some seminars he teaches men how to choke women. In another class caught on video he told men they need to “short circuit the emotional and logical mind” of women -- to get them into bed against their consent. He’s an evangelist of rape culture, and he’s coming to the UK in a week -- unless we shut him down.
A self-described American “pick up artist,” Julien Blanc earns thousands for his sick classes, and in a week he’s scheduled to teach a sold out “boot camp” in London. But Julien is running into a PR problem: campaigns in Australia, Canada, Japan and Brazil have just taken off, asking governments to keep him out -- and Australia revoked his visa this week! Now a new petition in the UK is taking off, calling on the Home Office to deny him a visa. It’s the perfect moment to jump on board and put him and his sexist snake oil operation out of business for good.
To allow this man into the UK sends a message that women are objects to be manipulated and preyed on, and it legitimises sexual assault. Not on our watch.
Mob justice The question of whether Sheffield United football club should reinstate convicted rapist Ched Evans as a player as part of his rehabilitation has fuelled an aggressive public debate. I have little interest in sport and no interest in football, but signed a petition calling for the club to break all ties with the player.
Although I admit that the argument for rehabilitation has some merit, considering that this man continues to refuse to admit responsibility for his crime and considering that his previous job was a high profile public role as a highly paid “role model” for impressionable young boys, he cannot be considered in the same way that factory worker might be considered. Returning to such a position would give out the wrong message; that rape is not as serious a crime as murder and encourage young supporters to emulate him. Jessica Ennis-Hill stated that if he returns to the club she wants and sign displaying her name at the site to be removed.
Jessica Ennis-Hill wants name removed from stand if Ched Evans given contract Sheffield United fan and Olympic gold medallist makes request after released convicted rapist is accepted back for training The Guardian, Thursday 13 November 2014
Jessica Ennis-Hill will ask Sheffied United to remove her name from a stand at the club’s ground if it offers convicted rapist Ched Evans a new contract.
The Sheffield-born Olympic gold medallist said in a statement: “I believe being a role model to young people is a huge honour and those in positions of influence in communities should respect the role they play in young people’s lives and set a good example. If Evans was to be re-signed by the club it would completely contradict these beliefs.”
The stand at Bramall Lane was named in her honour after the Blades fan’s heptathlon triumph at the London 2012 Games.
Evans, who is also a Wales international footballer, was released from prison last month after serving half of a five-year sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel room in Rhyl, north Wales, in 2011.
The footballer, 25, had admitted having sex with the woman, who told a jury she had no memory of the incident.
The prosecution said the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was too drunk to consent to sex.
Evans had been accepted back into training with Sheffield following a request from the Professional Footballers’ Association.
But pressure has mounted on the club in recent weeks after more than 160,000 people signed an online petition urging it not to re-sign Evans.
Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister and MP for Sheffield Hallam, also warned of potential ramifications.
Three patrons of the club - TV presenter Charlie Webster, businesswoman Lindsay Graham and former pop star Dave Berry - have all withdrawn their support this week.
Two shirt sponsors have threatened to pull out of deals with the club. DBL Logistics said on Wednesday that it would end its arrangement if Evans was re-signed, while John Holland Sales said it would examine its position if the player was given a new contract.
Jessica Ennis-Hill receives rape threats over Ched Evans stance South Yorkshire police investigate abusive tweets after Olympic medallist urges Sheffield United not to take back convicted rapist The Guardian, Friday 14 November 2014
South Yorkshire police are investigating rape threats sent to Olympic gold medallist Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill after she said she would request the removal of her name from a stand at Sheffield United if it offers a new contract to convicted rapist Ched Evans.
Ennis-Hill received the abuse on Twitter, with one tweet, sent from the handle @rickielambert07 reading: “Jessica Ennis-Hill is a stupid [auto mod]. Saying she will remove her name if Ched Evens [sic] is signed. I hope he rapes her.” Both the tweet and account were then deleted.
After the troll was called “scum” for his threat, he replied: “Freedom of speech mate … I’ll say what I want when I want!”.
Another Twitter user, going by the handle @coreyoc21, sent a message to Ennis-Hill which read: “Hope Ched Evans gets you you little [auto mod].”
A spokesman for South Yorkshire police said: “Officers are looking into the tweets.”
The feminist campaigner Jean Hatchet, who started a campaign signed by more than 160,000 people on change.org calling on the club to break all ties with the player, told the Guardian she has been receiving up 500 abusive tweets a minute from supporters of the disgraced footballer.
Sheffield-born Ennis-Hill, who had a stand at Bramall Lane named in her honour after the Blades fan’s heptathlon triumph at the London 2012 Games, said in a statement on Thursday: “I believe being a role model to young people is a huge honour and those in positions of influence in communities should respect the role they play in young people’s lives and set a good example. If Evans was to be re-signed by the club it would completely contradict these beliefs.”
On Friday, David Cameron said he understood why Ennis-Hill had called on Sheffield United not to offer a new football contract to Evans. Speaking on the margins of the G20 summit in Brisbane, the prime minister told reporters: “I quite understand why she’s said what she’s said and done what’s she done.”
A Downing Street spokeswoman added: “The prime minister had previously pointed out that football players should regard themselves as role models and was sure Sheffield United would consider carefully before making any decision.”
The move will put further pressure on Sheffield United to publicly state that they will not offer a new contract to Evans, who was told he could start training with the club again this week after a request from the Professional Footballers’ Association.
Three patrons of the Sheffield United Community Foundation, including the TV presenter Charlie Webster, have resigned over the decision to let Evans train. Sponsors have also threatened to cut ties with the club if a new deal is offered to the 25-year-old, who maintains his innocence.
Evans, a former Wales international, was released from prison last month after serving half of a five-year sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel room in Rhyl, north Wales, in 2011. The footballer had admitted having sex with the woman after his friend and fellow footballer Clayton McDonald had done so, while two other friends attempted to film the event through a window. Both men denied rape and McDonald was cleared, but Evans was sentenced when the jury agreed with the prosecution that the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was too drunk to consent to sex.
Other MPs have also entered the row. Paul Blomfield, the Labour MP for Sheffield Central and a United shareholder, said taking back “an unrepentant convicted rapist” would send “a disturbing message to young people and victims of sexual violence about how we view rape”.
Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, urged the club to rethink the decision to let Evans train, and Labour’s Yvette Cooper said it was “in danger of sending the wrong signal”.
Two shirt sponsors have threatened to pull out of deals with the club. DBL Logistics said on Wednesday that it would end its arrangement if Evans was re-signed, while John Holland Sales said it would examine its position if the player was given a new contract.
Online campaigning is not only eco-friendly, but it can yield positive results in a short period of time at the click of a button in the comfort of your own home. I have to say that anyone who thinks that handing out leaflets in the cold and wet can yield similar results to online campaigning is a Timex watch in a digital age! Once set up an online petition can get huge nationwide results in a matter of days at the click of a button? The Avaaz petition UK: Shut down this Rape "Guru" attracted 135,582 signatures. The change.org petition to ‘Deny Julien Blanc a UK Visa’ attracted 158,259 signatures and has resulted in victory. Well done to all those who signed one or other of these online petitions!
Julien Blanc barred from entering UK US pick-up artist believed to have been told his application for a British visa has been rejected, the Guardian has learned Alan Travis, home affairs editor The Guardian, Wednesday 19 November 2014 15.29 GMT
Julien Blanc was forced to cut short an Australian tour following protests.
Julien Blanc, the American “pick-up artist” who has been accused of promoting sexual assault, is to be banned from entering Britain, the Guardian has learned.
Blanc is believed to have been told by the Home Office that his application for a British visa has been rejected and he will not be allowed to enter the UK.
The decision by the home secretary, Theresa May, follows international criticism over his dating seminars. More than 150,000 people have signed a petition demanding that Britain follow Australia’s example in cancelling his visa.
The petition says: “To allow this man into the UK legitimises sexual assault and predation, and sends a message that women are playthings or objects without agency.”
Blanc, 25, who tours the world giving seminars and $2,000 (£1,250) bootcamps, was due to arrive in Britain in February for a series of events.
His critics, who include the Home Office minister, Lynne Featherstone, and the shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, say he dresses up his seminars as dating advice but actually focuses on tricking women into having sex, in order to make money. His website is called Pimping My Game.
A Home Office spokesman refused to comment on an individual case. “The home secretary has the power to exclude an individual if she considers that his or her presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good or if their exclusion is justified on public policy grounds,” he said.
“It is longstanding practice that we do not comment on individual exclusion cases unless they are made public by the excluded individual. This home secretary has excluded more foreign nationals on the grounds of unacceptable behaviour than any before her.”
This month Blanc was forced to cut short an Australian tour after widespread protests led to his visa being cancelled. The Australian immigration minister, Scott Morrison, said his government’s decision was in reaction to justified public outrage. “This guy wasn’t putting forward political ideas. He was putting forward abuse that was derogatory to women and those values are abhorred in this country,” he said.
A social media campaign has led to more than 158,000 people signing the petition against Blanc on Change.org.
Videos and pictures suggest that Blanc encourages men to harass women and lower their self-esteem in order to have sex with them.
This week Blanc issued an apology in response to the campaign. “I just want to apologise to anyone I’ve offended in any way. This was never my intention and I just want to put it out there,” he told CNN’s Chris Cuomo.
“I’m extremely sorry. Like, I feel horrible. I’m not going to be happy to feel like I’m the most hated man in the world. I’m overwhelmed by the way people are responding.” His critics were largely unimpressed with the apology.
On a website linked from a protected Twitter account run by @rsdjulien, “an executive coach for Real Social Dynamics, the international leader in dating advice”, Blanc promises men who take his courses that he will teach them how to “Make Girls BEG To Sleep With You After SHORT-CIRCUITING Their Emotional And Logical Mind” and develop “panty-dropping masculinity with this rock-solid structure to self-generate the powerful emotions girls crave”.
His courses cost from £123 ($197) for 23 instructional videos to £312 ($497) for the videos plus a ticket to a live event and access to Blanc’s Facebook page.
VAWG (iolence against women and girls) campaigners have warned that areas of Blanc’s sales pitch veer into rape promotion, as he promises to teach men how to persuade womento have sex with them who are reluctant. He says his tips for overcoming “last-minute resistance (LMR) – making her feel 100% comfortable for sex” will enable men to do “crazy sexual things”, adding: “You’ll love this if you have any fetishes”. He also promises techniques on “how to pull a camera on her if you’re into that kind of thing”.
Video clips of Blanc on YouTube show him shoving women’s faces into his crotch and on one occasion assaulting a Japanese checkout worker – who appears to be deeply uncomfortable – by kissing her neck and ear. He is shown speaking to a room full of men who laugh at his anecdotes, at one point commenting about women in Japan: “If you’re a white male, you can do what you want. I’m just romping through the streets, just grabbing girls’ heads, just like, head, pfft on the [auto mod].”
Birmingham men fear reprisals over 'grooming' order - video CHANNEL 4 NEWS, WEDNESDAY 19 NOVEMBER 2014 Birmingham bans several men from 'approaching' teenage girls, despite not enough criminal evidence to prosecute them. One of the men tells Darshna Soni that it will "destroy" his life. Watch video at: www.channel4.com/news/birmingham-men-child-exploitation-order-named
Six men named as subject of anti-grooming orders Judge rules men from Birmingham can be identified despite police warning that they could become targets of vigilantes Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent The Guardian, Wednesday 19 November 2014
Six men from Birmingham have been named by a high court judge as being the subject of anti-grooming orders, which were put in place to ensure they have no contact with vulnerable girls.
The decision to identify the men as being subject to injunctions preventing child sexual exploitation was made by Mr Justice Keehan, despite objections from the West Midlands police that they could become the targets of far-right vigilante attacks.
The injunctions were obtained by Birmingham city council to ensure the men have no further contact with a 17-year-old girl who was found in their company. It is believed to be the first time such a legal device has been used to safeguard vulnerable juveniles.
The injunctions – which also bar the men from approaching any girl under the age of 18 with whom they were not previously associated in a public place – could be adopted by other local authorities.
The injunctions remain in force until the girl turns 18. Altogether 10 men have been served with injunctions – some on an interim basis, some as final orders. The injunctions were served on various dates over the past month.
The six named as being the subject of the final orders are Omar Ahmed, 27, Mohammed Anjam, 31, Sajid Hussain, 40, Nasim Khan, 19, Shah Alam, 37 and Mohammed Javid, 34.
Explaining his decision to identify the men, Keehan said: “I bear in mind that it’s those who have been the subject of sexual exploitation of a young woman who are seeking to protect their own identity.
“The West Midlands police have undertaken a risk assessment in which they deem the 10 respondents to be at a high risk of harm, but it’s conceded that there’s no evidential basis at all for this.”
The court heard details of how three of the men – Khan, Alam and Javid – were found in a hotel room with the girl one evening in August.
According to the police, they had been drinking and there were small bottles of vodka in the room when officers arrived.
Javid was in the bed and topless. The girl was standing in the room, fully clothed.
Lorna Meyer QC, for Birmingham council, said the inference was that they had come to the hotel with the intention of sexual exploitation.
Khan said he had been called to the hotel to provide his friend with a phone charger and a lift home because Javid had been drinking.
He said he had only just arrived at the hotel when the police appeared. He denied intending to exploit the girl.
Alam said he had also arrived to take Javid home. He said he knew nothing about the girl’s presence and denied sexual exploitation.
Javid said he had met the girl at a petrol station and had helped her because she was being harassed by another man. He also denied sexual exploitation.
Sarah Simcock, counsel for the West Midland police, had earlier told the court: “The men are considered to be at a high risk of retribution or targeting of their families due to the matter of the injunctions if they were to be identified.
“[The police] concern is that if the details of their identity were to be released there’s a risk for vigilantism. There may well be a risk of vigilantism from the EDL [English Defence League].”
Juliet Allen, counsel for two of the men, said they feared reprisals “following [child exploitation cases] in Rotherham” where the EDL tried to target those who had been identified.
Keehan replied: “It’s a matter for the police to manage the risk.”
There have been no criminal prosecutions. The council have said that the girl is safe in secure accommodation. She was said to have been repeatedly reported to be missing.
The court heard that the chief constable of the West Midlands was opposed to naming the 10 men who are the subject of the injunctions. Two of the men are in prison. One was said to have threatened to harm himself if identified. The Press Association and other media had made representations that the men should be named.
Meyer, for Birmingham council, said: “In the steps taken by the local authority to try to [establish] a workable system of early intervention and disruption of child sexual exploitation, [the council] has been working with the police.”
Panic room woman challenges bedroom tax Judicial review challenge will argue that tax is discriminatory and will have devastating impact on abused woman and her son Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent The Guardian, Tuesday 18 November 2014
Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary. Photograph: Rex Features
A woman whose council home has been fitted with a secure panic room to protect her from a violent ex-partner is going to court on Wednesday to challenge the government’s so-called bedroom tax.
The work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, has refused to withdraw the demand despite losing an earlier attempt to have the test case dismissed.
The woman, who lives in a three-bedroom property with her 11-year-old son, has been the victim of rape, assault, harassment, stalking and threats to kill at the hands of her former partner. She is not being identified.
The local council has told her she will lose £11.65 a week from her benefits on the grounds that she has a spare room, which is the panic room.
Ministers argue that the bedroom tax, which the DWP calls the spare room subsidy, will encourage people to move to smaller properties, saving around £480m a year from the government’s housing benefit bill.
The woman, referred in the case as A, is one of a small number of victims of domestic violence who will be affected by the policy. According to figures obtained through freedom of information inquiries from 79 local authorities, almost one in 20 households benefiting from similar sanctuary schemes for people at risk of severe domestic violence have been affected by the under-occupancy penalty. Across the country, 281 such households are facing bedroom tax demands.
The high court in London will hear her lawyers argue in a judicial review challenge that the tax is discriminatory and will have a devastating impact on A and her son. They will claim that it has a disproportionate effect on victims of domestic violence, most of whom are women.
A women’s refuge charity has spent thousands of pounds at A’s property reinforcing window frames and the front door and making the back garden more secure. A panic space has been installed, with alarms linked to the police station.
The woman’s housing benefit has been reduced by 14% because of the bedroom tax policy.
Rebekah Carrier, the solicitor acting for A, said: “These changes to housing benefit are having a catastrophic impact upon vulnerable people across the country. Our client’s life is at risk and she is terrified. She lives in a property which has been specially adapted by the police, at great expense, to protect her and her child. It is ridiculous that she is now being told she must move to another property (where she will not have any of these protections) or else take in a lodger.
“She is a vulnerable single parent who has been a victim of rape and assault. The secretary of state cannot seriously suggest that it is appropriate for her to take a stranger into her home.”
A’s claim is supported by evidence from the charity Women’s Aid on the prevalence of domestic violence and the important function of sanctuary schemes in providing protection and preventing homelessness for those at risk.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said: “Sanctuary schemes are created to keep extremely vulnerable women and children safe, at a time when they are trying to rebuild their lives after surviving domestic violence. An investment has been made in keeping these women safe and to move these families out of their homes is a false economy as it will cost further money to provide security as the new property, and this may provide a reduced level of safety, putting them at risk.
“It is important to remember that on average two women every week are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales. Protecting abused women and their children is a matter of life and death, and we should always remember this.”
A DWP spokesman said: “This is exactly why we have made £345m available to councils to help vulnerable people. We understand the council have awarded a payment to make up a shortfall in rent.”
• This article was amended on Wednesday 19 November to add a quote from a DWP spokesman.
House of Commons Tuesday 18 November 2014 Rape and Domestic Violence
5. Justin Tomlinson (North Swindon) (Con): What steps the Crown Prosecution Service has taken to improve the conviction rate for rape and domestic violence in the last two years. 
The Solicitor-General (Mr Robert Buckland): The Crown Prosecution Service has taken a number of steps to prioritise effective prosecutions of rape and domestic violence. In June 2014, the CPS published, with the police, a national rape action plan to improve the investigation and prosecution of these crimes. In addition, in May 2014, the CPS launched a public consultation on legal guidance to prosecutors on cases involving domestic violence.
Justin Tomlinson: Will the Solicitor-General join me in thanking Swindon’s women’s refuge and victim support teams for providing a vital service that gives victims of crime the confidence to speak out?
The Solicitor-General: I am happy to join my hon. Friend in doing so. I have visited the refuge; it is an example of best practice and one of a large and growing network of crisis centres that help and support women who have nowhere else to turn.
Emily Thornberry (Islington South and Finsbury) (Lab): Although it is important to improve conviction rates, we must also look at why so few rape cases make it to trial. Today, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary published a critical report, which contained some really troubling findings, especially in relation to the handling of sexual offences. The inspector found that serious sexual offences were not being recorded. They included 14 rapes where offenders had simply been issued with an out-of-court disposal, and in many of those cases they should have been prosecuted. I have been expressing concern for some time that there needs to be far greater CPS oversight of police decision making in cases of rape and other serious sexual offences. Does the Solicitor-General agree that this report illustrates that that plan is the right one to take, and will he support Labour’s proposals to ensure that before a rape case is dropped a CPS lawyer must look at it?
The Solicitor-General: The hon. Lady makes proper points about a report that raises serious concerns. It is right to note that, in the year ending June 2014, the Office for National Statistics recorded a 29% increase in reported and recorded rapes, so progress is being made, but much more needs to be done. The national rape action plan is a vital part of ensuring that more is done by police and prosecutors to monitor why cases are not followed through. We know that sometimes the reasons for that are quite complex and varied.
Ched Evans training offer withdrawn by Sheffield United Football club reverses decision to allow convicted rapist to use facilities following public pressure over former player’s future Owen Gibson, chief sports correspondent, and Chris Johnston The Guardian, Thursday 20 November 2014 21.38 GMT
Ched Evans plays for Sheffield United before he was jailed for rape. Photograph: Jon Buckle/PA
Sheffield United has performed a U-turn and withdrawn an offer to allow convicted rapist Ched Evans to train with the club, citing the unexpected intensity of the reaction to their decision.
The club initially agreed to allow Evans to train with them following a request from the Professional Footballers’ Association, which has argued that the striker should be free to resume his career after being released from prison last month.
But it has been under increasing pressure not to offer Evans a new contract and has now reversed its decision to allow the player to train at the club.
A string of patrons resigned from the club’s Foundation and Olympic gold-winning heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill said she would ask for her name to be removed from the Bramall Lane stand that bears it if Evans was re-signed.
The player, who cost Sheffield United £3m in 2009 and scored 35 goals in the 2011/12 season, served two and a half years of a five-year sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman following a night out in Rhyl.
He continues to protest his innocence and has lodged an appeal with the Criminal Case Review Commission.
Organisations including Rape Crisis England & Wales and the End Violence Against Women Coalition vehemently opposed the decision to allow Evans to return to training.
More than 165,000 members of the public have signed a petition calling on Sheffield United chairman Kevin McCabe not to re-sign the striker.
“The club initially accepted a request from the PFA for Ched Evans to be able to train. The reaction to this has been at an intensity that could not have been anticipated when first announced,” said the club in a statement.
“As noted in previous statements from the club, the legal system of this country provides for both the punishment and the rehabilitation of every person who has been found guilty of a crime.
“Sheffield United will not be used to promote the view that professional footballers should be treated differently, as has been the want of certain sections of the media and various commentators.”
In announcing that it had reversed its decision, which would appear to indicate that the club had also decided against re-signing Evans, Sheffield United also criticised the media and some of those who have put pressure on it over the issue.
“We remain disappointed at some of the inaccurate reporting, misinformed views and commentary, as well as the actions of a minority of individuals on social media. Professional footballers must be treated as equals before the law,” it said.
“The club condemns rape and violence of any kind against women in the strongest possible terms.”
The confused nature of the statement reflects the extent to which the case has split the Sheffield United fan base. Some fans have loudly chanted in support of Evans at matches but others have said they would refuse to return to Bramall Lane if he was re-signed.
“We recognise that a number of our supporters will be disappointed with this decision, but would ask that they remember the responsibilities we have not only to a fine and proud club, whose history stretches back over 125 years, but also to the communities in which Sheffield United is active and to the city we represent,” said the club.
A string of politicians have also spoken out on the case, with shadow sports minister Clive Efford and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, whose constituency is in Sheffield, among those arguing Evans should not be allowed to walk back into football given his status as a role model.
“I really do think that footballers these days, they are major public figures who have a public responsibility to set an example for other people,” said Clegg shortly after the 25-year-old was released in mid-October.
Earlier this week singer-songwriter Paul Heaton became the latest figure associated with Sheffield United to resign his position as a result of its decision to allow Evans to train with the club.
The former lead singer in the Beautiful South followed the lead of television presenter Charlie Webster, businesswoman Lindsay Graham and 1960s pop singer Dave Berry in quitting as a patron of the Sheffield United Community Foundation.
Webster tweeted on Thursday night: “Sheffield United have done the right thing by not letting Ched Evans train with them. It’s the right thing for the club, its fans, its community and the victim. @sufc_tweets is a great club with a fantastic history and now its future can be fantastic too.”
Others have argued that Evans has been punished for his crime and deserves the right to resume his career. “It is a fundamental part of the justice process that a person serves his or her sentence and then is entitled to be released and continue with their life,” PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor has said.
His supporters have pointed to others who have resumed their football careers after being found guilty of serious crimes. Former West Bromwich Albion striker Lee Hughes joined Oldham Athletic in 2007 after serving half of a six year sentence for causing death by dangerous driving.
Evans released a video statement in which he said he was “determined” to clear his name and wanted to return to football. He apologised to his girlfriend, who has stood by him and whose father is funding a campaign to clear his name, but at no stage has apologised to his victim.
She was forced to change her name and move away from her home town after her identity was revealed on Twitter and she become the target of online abuse.
Labour List has published an article which claims that women fleeing domestic violence could be solved with their housing policy! The Labour Party are clearly a bit confused! They think that "The odds against women leaving violent partners are too low, and this is because housing policy." Perhaps some of you might like to post some comments about the need for legal aid?
You don't have to be a member of the Labour Party to register with Labour List and it is an ideal place to post comments which Labour MPs and Labour members will read.
We need to talk about domestic violence – now LABOUR LIST NOVEMBER 20, 2014 8:46 AM Author: Ellie Mae O'Hagan
We need to talk about domestic violence. We need to talk about it now, because austerity is making the problem worse. There was a sharp leap in domestic violence in the last quarter of 2013 – with a rise of 15.5% of victims suffering abuse at home. We don’t know whether that’s because of increased reporting or increased offending, because domestic violence is shrouded in secrecy. What we do know is that – because of cuts to funding – 103 children and 155 women are turned away from shelters in one typical day this year.
It takes a woman an average of seven times to leave an abusive partner. What happens to that woman if, once she has left, she is turned away from the places that are supposed to keep her safe? Actually I know the answer to that: when I was a community organiser I met a lot of domestic violence charities that saw women sleeping rough or returning to abusive partners.
What happens if a woman manages to get shelter and is then charged the bedroom tax, like one of the nearly 300 households in the UK that have just experienced exactly that?
It was commendable of Ed Miliband to raise the effect of the bedroom tax upon victims of the bedroom tax at Prime Minister’s Questions, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Domestic violence survivors are also being placed on social housing waiting lists with tens of thousands of other people, or – as with some of the Focus E15 mums – being relocated hundreds of miles away from their communities.
In October 2014, Marjorie Mayo and Ines Newman wrote a paper for Class examining the housing crisis and proposing solutions. It is evident from their research that the housing crisis cannot be separated from every other element of social policy: it is linked to welfare, health, education, and family. A secure, comfortable home is a necessary basis from which to educate, motivate and care for people. It is therefore impossible to talk about the epidemic of domestic violence without talking about the housing crisis, and how this crisis is fundamentally gendered – affecting vulnerable women and their children first.
The odds against women leaving violent partners are too low, and this is because housing policy – amongst others – is stacked against them, often meaning women must choose between homelessness and poverty or a life of fear. It is partly this awful choice that has put Britain in the ignoble position of being the country where two women a week die at the hands of their partners. This is a disgrace, and it can and must be changed. It is the responsibility of all parties to address this issue, and so far all parties have fallen shamefully short.
We can start with the housing crisis. In my opinion, we must build more social (not affordable) housing and prioritise women who have left violent relationships. Mayo and Newman’s paper offers multiple solutions for a housing crisis which is claiming lives. The housing crisis is a women’s crisis – and it’s exacerbated even further for women living in poverty, women with a disability, or BME women. It’s time for women’s lives to stop being treated as a side issue. We need to talk about this now.
10 December 2014 12:00 ~ Demonstration: Stop the cuts to specialist “Violence Against Women” services – Manchester 18 November 2014 10 December marks Human Rights Day. It is also the end of the 16 days of action associated with UN International Day to Eliminate Violence against Women.
As Manchester City Council announces a further round of cuts to the tune of £60 million, Safety4Sisters calls all women and men to join our demo and send out a united message to the Coalition Government –
Women’s Right To Safety Is A Human Right! Protect Our Services- Provide Secure & Adequate Funding Wednesday 10 December 2014 – 12-2pm St Peters Square, next to Cenotaph, Manchester City Centre (To be confirmed) Bring banners, placards, whistles, pots/pans, spoons and drums.
The Coalition Government has slashed funding to vital frontline services for women and children escaping gender based violence and Manchester City Council has just announced that it has to find a further £60 million in saving. This is devastating. Some of the most vulnerable women and children are facing an uncertain future as specialist services, such as Women’s Aid refuges and Rape Crisis centres, struggle to survive. These, and many other specialist Violence Against Women services in Greater Manchester and around the UK, literally save women and children’s lives and provide excellent value for money. Services such as refuge accommodation, advocacy, advice, outreach work and emotional and group support to those experiencing domestic violence, rape and sexual assault, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, honour based violence and other forms of gender based violence.
Further cuts to this sector will mean that women will have to rely on higher cost services such as A&E, critical homelessness and emergency services. This will end up costing the government more.
These cuts are located within the wider politically driven ‘austerity measures’ which have resulted in extensive reductions in funding to legal aid, NHS, education, welfare services and other vital public sector services. Women’s rights and safety are at risk. Women are finding it harder to get access to justice; to a safe and secure specialist refuge; to protection for their children and to essential support services. The most marginalised women are bearing the brunt of the impact as poverty and inequality intensifies. As services are being starved of resource’s, the first to be affected are those facing extra barriers in accessing support such as women from black and minority ethnic communities, women with immigration status problems and women with disabilities. The Coalition has already undermined the services and spaces hard fought for. Given that on average, 2 women per week are killed by partners or ex-partners, these resources are the safety net upon which thousands of women and children rely on.
Did you know that -
1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence over their lifetimes
1 in 5 women (aged 16-69) have experienced some form of sexual assault since aged 16 years
Between 2010 and July 2014 the number of specialist refuge services decreased by 17%
In one day in 2013, 155 women and their 103 children were turned away from refuges because they could not be accommodated
48% of 167 domestic violence services in England said that they were running services without funding. Six refuge services were being run without dedicated funding and using up their reserves to keep their services going
Approximately 85,000 women are raped in England and Wales every year (Women’s Aid www.womensaid.org.uk and Rape Crisis
LET’S BE CLEAR: SERVICES ARE ALREADY STRUGGLING Come join the demo – PROTEST THE CUTS – PROTECT OUR SERVICES!
Organized by Safety4Sisters – a campaigning group which aims to highlight issues affecting undocumented women experiencing gender based violence, challenge the injustices they experience and work towards improving services. For more information contact – Sandhya Sharma or Vicky Marsh on firstname.lastname@example.org