Monday, 20 February 2017

Compare and Contrast

Image result for compare and contrast + images
The BBC reports on steps being taken to tighten up the way domestic violence laws 
operate in England and Wales which begs comparison with what is going on in Russia.

Domestic violence: Theresa May to oversee new law


Image copyright - PA Image caption - As home secretary, Theresa May introduced several new measures on domestic violence

Theresa May says she will directly oversee work on a new law to tackle domestic violence, amid worries victims are being let down by the legal system.

Downing Street said it was "unacceptable" some areas of England and Wales were putting more effort into tackling the problem than others.

The Domestic Violence and Abuse Act aims to address an inconsistency in the use of existing offences and measures.

Mrs May said tackling such abuse was a "key priority" for the government.

During her six years as home secretary, Mrs May introduced domestic violence protection orders and a new offence against controlling and coercive behaviour.

Domestic violence prosecutions and convictions have started to rise in recent years, and the prime minister said "no stone will be left unturned in delivering a system that increases convictions, and works better for victims".

She said domestic violence was a "life-shattering and absolutely abhorrent" crime.

And she said thousands of people were suffering at the hands of abusers - "often isolated, and unaware of the options and support available to them to end it".

Given the central importance of victim evidence to support prosecutions, she said, raising public awareness - as well as consolidating the law - "will prove crucial".

Victims' Commissioner Baroness Newlove welcomed the move, saying: "I have met victims who have been dangled out their front window to scare them, who have been thrown into baths to be woken up from being beaten up.

"These are horrendous issues. I want to make sure there's more meat on the bone [of legislation] and that victims do feel they have the confidence to come forward," she added.

She said it would be a long haul as any new legislation was expected to take 18 months to come into force.

Domestic abuse in figures
Year ending March 2016

  • 1.8m People aged 16-59 who told Crime Survey for England and Wales they were a victim
  • 1.2m Female victims 
  • 651,000 Male victims 
  • 79% Did not contact police 
  • 100,930 Cases resulted in prosecution 
Source: Office for National Statistics

It is unclear yet what shape the new legislation will take but experts working with victims will be invited to contribute ideas and proposals.

Charities and groups supporting victims have welcomed the plans.

Diana Barran, chief executive of SafeLives, said it was a "chance to pause and listen to survivors of abuse".

She said many victims were having to go to a number of professionals - whether GPs, police officers or health professionals - before getting help.

"You want to be believed," she told the BBC.

"You want to know if you speak to somebody, they are going to do something about the problem."

Police forces' inconsistent response was partly down to cultural blocks, meaning officers did not always take reports seriously, and the volume of cases they were already handling, she said.

'Sea change'

Ms Barran added that there were funding shortages for community services for women and refuges.

Women's Aid chief executive Polly Neate said there was scope to make the laws around domestic abuse "clearer and more comprehensive", while children's charity the NSPCC called for the needs of affected children to be prioritised.

Refuge chief executive Sandra Horley said she hoped the new law would give victims the protection they needed "and end domestic violence once and for all".

Mark Brooks, chairman of the ManKind Initiative charity, called for a "real step change" in supporting and recognising male victims of domestic violence, saying they made up a third of all victims.

Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said domestic abuse was often under-reported "and therefore any new initiative which encourages victims to come forward is to be applauded".

Downing Street said work on the legislation would be co-ordinated by the Home Office and Ministry of Justice, although other departments would be involved.

Putin's Russia (18/02/17)

The Independent reports that domestic violence has gone 'through the roof' in Russia's fourth largest city, Yetkaterinberg, after the country's parliament watered down the law so that only 'more serious' incidents are treated as potential crimes.

Domestic violence reports soar in Russian city following partial decriminalisation

Mayor of Yekaterinburg believes law change makes domestic violence seem acceptable

Rachel Roberts - The Independent

Reports of domestic violence in Russia's fourth largest city have more than doubled since the law change Rex

Reports of domestic violence have more than doubled in Russia’s fourth largest city since the Government reduced the punishment for spousal or child abuse from a criminal to a civil one.

Police in Yekaterinburg responded to 350 incidents of domestic violence daily since the law was relaxed compared to 150 such incidents previously, according to the city’s mayor.

Yevgeny Roizman told Russian media: “Before, people were afraid of criminal charges — this acted as some kind of safety barrier.

Putin signs law partially decriminalising domestic abuse in Russia

“People got the impression that before it wasn’t allowed, but now it is.”

The law reduced the punishment for attacks that result in “minor injuries” such as bruises or cuts from two years to 15 days in prison along as they do not happen more than once a year, sparking outrage from human rights groups around the world.