Monday, April 14, 2008

Reforms Not Working

Following on from the announcement that an increase in dedicated domestic violence courts is planned and concerns raised by the Association of District Judges that recent reforms to curb domestic violence in England & Wales has brought about an estimated 25-30% drop in applications for non-molestation orders the Times reports a there is to be an urgent meeting between Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, and Sir Mark Potter, President of the Family Division.

The rationale offered is either offenders of domestic violence have changed their behaviour or survivors ('victim' isn't in my vocabulary!) do not want to criminalise the perpetrators. Other possible explanations I can think of might be perpetrators or/and those who make false allegations have been deterred because breaching a non-molestation order is now a criminal offence . Also mentioned was judges found perpetrator treatment programmes effective but there were severe delays. I suspect that boils down to the UK wide problem, lack of funding.


Judith 14 April, 2008 21:48  

Whilst not linked to the change in the legislation, there has been a gradual change in the attitude of the police, so that, certainly locally, alleged perpetrators are being charged with assault, harassment or criminal damage and the local magistrates are imposing bail conditions that prevent a return to the marital home. As a result I would always refer a worthy injunction case to the police station before incurring what could be unnecessary legal costs in seeking an injunction.

Fiona 14 April, 2008 22:29  

Thanks, Judith. That's very interesting and seems far more plausible explanation than people just being deterred. I get the impression that at least most people going through divorce don't know where they stand or that the law was reformed.

Swiss Tony 15 April, 2008 13:26  

Surely this marks a complete success for the governments anti domestic violence campaign in the last year or so.

Statistically, I couldn't go anywhere without seeing posters showing how evil and nasty men are towards women.

Perhaps the message has got home, and men are now thinking twice before beating their partners up, or maybe women are thinking twice before making trumped up allegations against their partners to get them out of the house.

There must be some statistics to back me up Fi?

Well done the government, and lets have more successful campaigns. I hear global warming is a hot topic.

Love and Hugs Fi xx

Fiona 15 April, 2008 20:51  

Yes, I agree. The anti domestic violence campaign having an effect on the statistics seems very plausible too.

Good to see you have started a blog too!

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