Tuesday, 9 December 2014

It's Good to Talk

When I first began writing about Men’s Issues I adopted a non de plume, Si Victim.   This pseudonym was short for Silent Victim which reflected the way I had felt about enduring over 17 years of Domestic Abuse.

As a battered husband, I had nowhere to turn nor was there anyone I could speak to because wives just weren’t capable of attacking their partners.  It was unheard of!  I knew of no other man in my position.  Remaining silent effected every area of my life and everyday I remain on this earth, so to will the consequences of those years.

Having finally left the situation, I began rebuilding my life.  I discover that what had happened to me wasn’t as rare as I’d thought.  In fact, it was far more common than society would have you believe.  According to the latest figures from the British Crime Survey, out of every five Domestic Violence victims, two will be men.  Even more startling is the revelation that this is not a new development; Academic research over the last 40 years has consistently produced similar figures.

And yet, government funding for Domestic Abuse programmes has ignored the data choosing instead to bankroll the Feminist myth that all domestic violence assaults are due to male privilege. 

At least now, there is an acceptance among most Domestic Abuse service providers that men are affected by DV and they may now offer a ‘token’ service to Male Victims. Take, for example, this recent experience of mine.  I telephoned a local, well-advertised Domestic Abuse helpline.  On their publicity, there was no statement identifying that it was a gender-specific service.  Admittedly the cartoon of a cowering woman that accompanied the phone number would infer that it was. 

The first time I called, I went to voicemail and was asked to leave my name and number and an advisor would call me back.  I found this quite insensitive as most callers would be fearful about their personal safety and wouldn’t want to leave such details when their abuser could potentially intercept the call.  Minutes later, I tried again.  This time my call was answered.  I gave a brief summary of my story to be greeted with, “ We don’t deal with men, we only talk with women that are being abused by men.  I will have to refer you elsewhere.”

After holding on the line, I was given two telephone numbers: The Mankind Initiative 01823 334244 and the Men’s Advice Line  0808 802 4040.

No doubt about it had I been female, all manner of support would have been offered to me.

In November 2010, the Home Office published the strategy paper, ‘Call to end violence against women and girls’, setting out its approach for tackling domestic violence over the Parliament. This included £28 million funding for domestic violence support services.

That’s right £ 28,000,000 funding and all men really have are telephone helplines.

I have been speaking to many people (Councillors, Police & Crime Commissioners, Police Officers, Domestic Violence Prevention Officers etc) challenging this.  I keep hearing the same things:

“We know that men are victims too but…”

“Very few men engage with us.”

“You’re one of the few male victims prepared to talk about your experience.”

Having spoken at length on the lack of provision for services to men, I have come to the conclusion service aren’t provided for men because men don’t  speak out about their issues or seek the support/help they require/need.  This applies not just to Domestic Violence, but right across the spectrum of all men’s issues (such as health, education). 

On the whole, men don’t talk about their problems.  However, by remaining silent and not identifying our suffering, those areas which require service provision go unchallenged and are not addressed properly.

How can we change things?  A starting point is changing perception as to what it means to be a man.  When I look back at my childhood, we heard things like “Boys don’t cry” “Be a big, brave boy for mummy,” “Be a Man”  Such statements ‘encouraged’ us that we had to be tough, we couldn’t show any emotion because that was a sign of weakness, that we dealt with our own problems. 

We take these lessons into adulthood.  Men get mocked for suffering from Man Flu and yet, are very reluctant to visit their Doctors.  A visit to the GP’s surgery for a man is probably out of necessity.  Often, when asked by the GP why they have asked for an appointment, a man will reply, “It’s probably nothing but…” or “ I don’t mean to waste your time but my wife said I should get this checked out.” and then they discover that had they sought an earlier diagnosis, they would have been able for a better chance of recovery.

It’s good to talk and the sooner men learn to talk about the issues that affect us, the better services to men will become. Our inability to address our anxieties results in funding and services going elsewhere. 

Saturday, 22 November 2014

My 100th Post

This is my 100th blog and I felt I wanted to do something different to mark the occasion.  It has been an amazing journey so far and I have been staggered by the response and stories I heard.     It has been humbling to learn that I have also helped other people by sharing my story and experiences.  This all started because as a male victim, I thought that what had happened to me just didn't happen to men.  I was alone.  I discovered that I wasn't the only one, so it became important to me to get that message out that a man caught or feeling trapped in an abusive relationship isn't on his own.  It happens to more men than society would have you believe.  What follows is some of the many kind and gracious comments I've received since commencing blogging:


It was an absolute pleasure to interview @SiVictim tonight. What a brave and inspirational man with such a powerful story to tell

We want to thank @SiVictim for his contribution and support to our online magazine.(DVUK is 2 Today)

@SiVictim thank you, you're very welcome and well done to you for raising awareness

The Silence of Domestic Violence: Support 4 Male Victims ………http://thesilenceofdomesticviolence.blogspot.com/2012/05/support-for-male-victims.html?spref=tw  … … … … Brilliant blog by v brave man @SiVictim #IMD2013

@SiVictim GREAT MEETING YOU - #YOUmakeadifference - we hope to see you again soon! Thanks for all your support. #BESBWA
The Silence of Domestic Violence: Support for Male Victims …http://thesilenceofdomesticviolence.blogspot.com/2012/05/support-for-male-victims.html?spref=tw  … … Brilliant blog by a very brave man @SiVictim

That last post was from @SiVictim thanks for sharing your story and helping reduce the stigma for others to come forward #familyviolence

@SiVictim keep up the good work

@SiVictim What a great blog you have set up. V inspirational and well done for breaking the misconceptions about male DV.

@SiVictim Thanks for contributing to the mutual support magazine. (Domestic Violence UK is one today)

wow Great that @itvcorrie & you are raising awareness for such a taboo subject.

@SiVictim thanks for sharing your story Ian- you may be interested in our film which is going to raise awareness that DV can affect men too
Check out @SiVictim and his focus on male survivors of domestic violence.

#ff @SiVictim Follow him because he is a Male DV victim now raising awareness about #DomesticAbuse and its impact :-)

PLEASE RT http://www.facebook.com/groups/128080320589684/  … <<< Male victims can join and speak to a survivor @SiVictim #DomesticAbuse #bizitalk

@SiVictim You are brave and you should be very proud of yourself. It will take time to get the message out, you can only do so much :-)

@SiVictim@Lizzielegate Thanks for the RT. Keep up the good work!” TY! you too :) #MutualAppreciation

@SiVictim is a male victim of domestic abuse, raising awareness through his blog >> http://thesilenceofdomesticviolence.blogspot.co.uk << Go check it out!

Check out this blog by a male DV victim! http://ow.ly/aTZ1y  @sivictim

@SiVictim Thank you very much for following me!! I am honored and look forward to working together to assist victims! Congratulations!!

@sivictim Please continue to speak out. It helps you as well as other victims. It also helps you to take your power back. That's important.

I am deeply moved by the story of @SiVictim At times, I could not contain my tears.

@SiVictim A lot of courage is needed to speak out as a male victim in a world where violence put on men the burden of being the agressor

@SiVictim thank you for sharing your story, we need more men who have endured this to speak up.

@SiVictim thank you for sharing your story with me. i'm humbled. I will read all the posts to learn more...

Monday, 20 October 2014

Child or Parent Support?

Money Demands.

It’s a sad indictment on British society when someone is better off financially not work than trying to earn their keep and not be a burden to the tax payer. 

To my own personal experience, I have found this to be true and not a urban myth.  Were I to claim Jobseekers Allowance, I would be ‘passported’ to other benefit entitlements.  However, as a low-income father, I have no eligibility to financial assistance.  Indeed, after receiving a 17 page letter from the Benefit office, the only thing I learnt was that I would be financially better off sitting at home doing nothing. 

At least, being employment does give me a sense of purpose that I lost during my spells of unemployment.  But is it right that I’m penalised for trying to make an effort to improve my lot in life?

While trying to gasp my own situation, the actress Halle Berry is reported as having some money troubles of her own.    Allegedly, she pays a monthly child support amount of $ 16,000 to her ex-partner and wants this reduced to $ 3,000 because she feels that her ex partner has been living entirely off of this payment.

She may have a point.  The feel she reputedly feels is the way that many fathers feel.  And yet, no one listens to the voice of the fathers. 

I have had dealings with the Child Support Agency here in Britain.  I have found their approach very heavy-handed when they saw me as a ‘deadbeat father.’  

Their modus operandi is to issue you with a strongly-toned letter demanding that you reply in 5 days otherwise face possible legal action.  However, they are not as prompt should you wish/seek any input from them.

Initially, my ex and I agreed a private maintenance plan, but when she realised she could squeeze more money out of me, she decided on taking a non-negotiable approach via the Child Support Agency.   They assessed my income, but not my expenditure even ignoring outgoings that were related to my children.  Their assessment of what they felt I should pay my ex-wife was the majority of my wage, leaving me without enough to cover the basic bills such as rent.

For most families I know, it is a struggle. Often, both parents have to work and it isn’t easy.  But, a separated mother becomes far more accessible to a whole range of benefits and although some may be ‘means-tested,’ any child support payments aren’t included.    Child Support should be remained because often the last person supported by this payment is the child itself!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

In Denial

I was challenged to write a blog about men making false allegation of Domestic Violence.  In fact, men are reluctant to make any sort of accusations for fear of not being believed.  The person who issued the challenge had taken offence at something I had written.  However, rather that debate a differing viewpoint, she took to verbally insulting me instead in a very aggressive manner.
What I did discover was a report following a review by the Crown Prosecution Service that such allegations are extremely rare:

Appearing today in my newsfeed was a story about a businesswoman who brutally murdered her 8 year old son.  Bizarrely, her defence argued that the reason she killed was due to some accusations she made against two ex-partners.  There was no evidence to substantiate such claims.  In other words she was making false allegations against two men

Some women’s organisations will grudgingly acknowledge that men can claim to experience Domestic Violence, but will then claim that a male victim is really a perpetrator. There is no evidence to support this claim, rather it is another smokescreen to hide the real truth.

Women, as well as men, can be violent in relationships.  This is nothing new.  Back in 1971, Erin Pizzey opened the first Refuge (Shelter) and discovered that of the first 100 women to enter, 60% were as violent or even more violent than the men they were claiming to flee from. 

Pizzey has been the subject of death threats and boycotts because of her research into the claim that most domestic violence is reciprocal, and that women are equally as capable of violence as men. Pizzey has said that the threats were from militant feminists.

Such claims have been consistent with academic studies taken all throughout the last 40 years including PASK 2012

Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project (PASK) 2012 reveals the following:
The majority of Domestic Violence incidents is mutual – that is where both parties fight each other.
Population Surveys : 57.9%
Community Samples 59.6%
School & College samples 51.9%
Female oriented clinical samples 72.3%

Between 51.9% - 59.6% are mutual Domestic Violence situations. The big surprise is the figure of 72.3% which comes from clinical samples from Lesbian relationships.

In other words, the highest incidents of domestic violence have been found in lesbian relationships!!1

So what about scenarios where there is no reciprocal violence? PASK also asks that question.

The figures for Male assaults against female (non-mutual IPV) are:
Population Surveys : 13.8%
Community Samples 17.5%
School & College samples 16.2%

Perhaps surprisingly the figures for Female assaults against male (non-mutual IPV) are:

Population Surveys : 28.3%
Community Samples 22.9%
School & College samples 31.9%

Notice how woman are twice as likely to attack a male partner, than a male assault a woman without any reciprocal action.

And yet, society is still by large disbelieving about women aggressors.

I feel that many women remain in denial about their violent behaviour towards partners or ex-partners.  My ex certainly is even now.  Our children have challenged her about the assaults on me that THEY witnessed.  They saw her hit me, pour hot drinks over me and smash dinner plates (with food still on them) over my head.  And yet, she wasn’t violent!  She will admit to being a little clumsy and dropping things, but remains in denial about more severe deliberate violent acts.  I have also spoken with women who have eventually admitted hitting their partner.

For men when they hit a partner, there is no hiding place when reported or witnessed.  Some women though, remain in denial.  They believe that they can strike their partner because the partner is male therefore it doesn’t really hurt or their emotional/hormonal condition allows them to behave in such a way etc.  They think that because society doesn’t want to recognise that women can act in such fashion that they can deny they have anger issues or violent tendencies.  After all, no man will want to claim that their female partner is abusive to them, will they.  And even if the male is brave enough to speak out, who will believe him?  They can deny it and remain in denial about their own problems.

Friday, 19 September 2014


I got more reaction from my last blog than any other.  I was told it was offensive.  I was accused of making Domestic Violence gender-specific when it isn’t.  I was called sexist and a narcissist.  All my attackers were female. 

I found the charge of making Domestic Violence gender-specific quite ironic because regular readers will know that I find all violence abhorrent and I often state that there is never any excuse for any form of abuse, irrespective of gender.  What I do campaign about and highlight through this blog (and my own personal story)  is the inequality and the gender-bias way in which Domestic abuse is viewed by society.  The way in which it is reported suggests that men are always the aggressors and women the victims.  The truth, however, is different and that is what I try to show.  Men and Women can be Domestic Violence perpetrators and both genders can also be victims.  It is not a Gender issue, but was made one by the women’s movement (who continue to perpetuate this myth) and too many people are either too miss-informed or afraid to challenge this misperception. 

Blogging is about sharing your story and opinion.  Our opinions are often influenced by our own personal experiences.   If you choose to read my blog, I thank you sincerely.  You may agree with what I write.  You might disagree and have a different opinion.  You also have complete freedom to express whatever opinion you hold. I respect that and dialogue is always good in sharing different viewpoints.  Where I draw the line is when it becomes personal.  No-body has the right to insult another person.  I may not agree, but I can accept another’s opinion.  What is unacceptable is personal attacks because someone has a different view or opinion.  Hang on a minute, isn’t that how all conflicts and wars begin?  
So what caused such controversy?  I happened to post about a local young woman who made AND admitted to making false domestic violence allegations against her male ex-partner.  Such a story couldn’t be refuted as it was there in black and white.  What caused such offence was my comment that the leniency shown by the Judge wouldn’t have been the same had the wrongdoer been male.  How could I suggest such a thing? 

Making like for like comparisons in case is never easy, but several different stories appeared on my news feed today.

·         2 young women launch an unprovoked attack on a 77 year old  blind male bus passenger.
Punishment:  2 months suspender prison sentence

·         Female social worker admits falsely accusing Father of Child Abuse

·         Judges are ‘ordered’ to be more lenient when sentencing female criminals

So I caused offence when suggesting that women are possible of making false accusations and yet another example in reported.  My comments about judgement leniency caused outrage and yet, it is reported, judges have been instructed to make such rulings.

Trying to find  a like for like case, the closest I could find was a 78 year old Asian lady attacked by a 31 year old male.

The 31-year-old was arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated criminal damage, racially aggravated common assault and racially aggravated intentional harassment.  I couldn’t find the outcome of sentencing, but if this man was found guilty I doubt he would have been given a paltry two months suspender prison sentence.  He would have had the book thrown at him and rightly so. And just to re-address the balance, I can’t find any examples of men being arrested after making false domestic violence allegations.

All abuse and violence is wrong.  Those found guilty of such crimes should be punished equally.  Part of the punishment for incarcerated men is separation from family especially their children.  They are told that they should have thought about the impact on their children before they committed whatever the offence may have been.  Surely, the same incentive should be used in trying to deter women from committing crime too?  Instead, because they do have children they hope for leniency and a lighter sentence.  If you do the crime, you should be prepared to do the time.   

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

False Accusations

I’m not usually over enamoured with the effects and understanding shown about Domestic Violence issues by my local Police Force.  However, a report in the Nottingham Post of 9th September 2014 shows that perhaps things are changing.

 In the report entitled “Woman’s lies got her ex-partner arrested, “ the account tells how

“Pregnant Amy Whitham’s ex-partner was arrested after she falsely claimed he was going to arrange to “have her head kicked in,” a court heard.”

Obviously the Police have a duty to investigate such allegations. I do wonder whether they would have treated the accusation with the same enthusiasm though had the complainant been the male ex-partner!  I doubt it.

However, the report continues:

“He was arrested and questioned by detectives, Notting Crown Court heard.  But police soon established that the only person sending the messages was Whitham – through an e-mail account she had set up in his name.  Yesterday Whitham was sentenced for perverting the course of justice – on the strength of her making the false witness statement to police last November.”

So well done Nottingham Police for charging this woman.  What sentence did she receive?  To continue quoting the report:

“Judge James Sampson decided not to send Whitham into custody because she has two young children to care for and is expecting a third.  “As a mark of compassion, I’m prepared to suspend this sentence,” he told her.

Again, I ask ‘Would such compassion have been shown to her ex-partner?’  Probably not.  We all know that should he have been charged with the false allegation, he would have received a custodial sentence.

Further more, why do Judges be far more lenient on women criminals when well-known documentary evidence exists that states that young children are more at risk from harm in the care of mothers than fathers?  

Women such as Amy Whitham who think nothing of making false accusations against partners actually make it far more difficult for real victims to speak out and be heard, irrespective of gender.

Why did she do it?  To quote the report again, “No reasons were given at the hearing about why Whitham made up the claims.”

Now that’s a real surprise isn’t it?   I can tell you exactly why.   Whitham was on a revenge mission and wanting to hurt her former partner.  What easier way than to make up such allegations?   Women like Whitham know the climate is such that once she’d made her statement, her ex-partner would be seen as ‘guilty, until proven innocent.’  Fortunately, in this case, his innocence could be proved.  I have also heard of divorce settlements where Lawyers have encouraged the woman to make an accusation of domestic abuse in order to secure both a bigger alimony and residence of children.  This has been in relationships where there has been no record or evidence of abuse, no investigation of the allegations carried out, and yet the mere mention of being seen to be a victim of domestic violence has resulted in the desired financial reward.

The whole system needs an overhaul so that the practise of making false allegations stops completely.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Woman No Cry, Man Out Cry (Part One)

Forgive the poetic licence used in titling this piece ‘Woman No Cry, Man Out Cry’ but I wish to highlight once more the different attitudes regarding men and women accused of Domestic Violence offences.

When a man, celebrity or otherwise, is reported as being a Domestic Violence perpetrator there is often a huge public outcry and rightly so.  However  when a female is the assailant, a different attitude prevails.  In fact, most approaches seem to project the reports in a jovial fashion.  I find this totally shocking because if you are the victim of abuse, it doesn’t matter who your abuser is, it is not humorous or amusing. 

This week has since a few more examples in the national media.  One is an actress who is serialising her autobiography through media outlets.  This actress is probably better known for the paparazzi  coverage given to her many high-profile romances than her body of work.   Her beau’s include Jason Statham, Billy Zane, Thom Evans, David McIntosh and Danny Capriani. 

Kelly Brook admits to hitting ex-boyfriends Jason Statham and Danny Capriani.  In her account, she justifies her actions by saying that she attacked English Rugby player Danny Capriani after discovering that he was cheating on her.  The general attitude towards this is “good for you girl, the cheat deserved it and had it coming.  Now, imagine for a moment that the roles was reversed.  If Mr. Capriani had struck Ms. Brook and then claimed that he only did it in response to discovering infidelity, would that make it acceptable?   Of course not,  violence is never acceptable and shouldn’t be acceptable under any circumstances.  So why does society seem to think that a woman hitting a man is acceptable when a man striking a woman in similar circumstances is clearly not??

Ms Brook also admits to hitting hard-man movie actor Jason Statham.  She justifies this behaviour by claiming this was because he made flirty comments about another actress while with her.  Again, reverse the genders and would such action be tolerated?  I think not.

Ms Brook actually offers an insight into her behaviour when she writes:

“ My earliest memory is of my mother throwing an iron down the stairwell at my dad after he came back late from the pub.”

So the lesson she learnt from her parents was   If you think your partner steps out of line, you punish them with violence. 

There should never be any excuse for violence towards another person  irrespective of gender, race, religion, sexuality. 

Why is it then when women are the perpetrators, we don’t treat it with the contempt it deserves, but society continues to find the idea of a female attacking a man rather amusing?  

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

You Couldn't make it up

Many people look forward to their holidays away to rest by the pool/beach and enter into some light reading while they sunbathe.  Sunbathing isn’t really my thing, but reading most certainly is and I was away on holiday, I had more time to absorb myself in the daily newspapers and books that were in my ‘to read’ pile.  Most people have a ‘to do’ list.  I purchase books and have a ‘to read’ list which is never exhausted.
News stories and articles about Domestic Violence always catch my attention, and in a matter of days the several different papers I read, carried several stories.   Bizarrely, there seemed to be the publication of several studies which made claims of how Domestic Violence could either be caused or prevented all reaching the printed media at the same time. 

The most sensible was The Times 26th August 2014

“Constantly telling a partner that she is fat may be a symptom of domestic abuse, according to a Labour frontbencher.
Seema Malhotra, appointed yesterday to the newly created post of shadow minister for preventing violence against women and girls, said that trying to erode someone’s self-esteem could be part of a broader pattern of behaviour.”

Although this report is written in the gender-specific fashion that I abhor, later in the article an acknowledgement that men are victims too.

“She highlighted figures showing that 12 million woman and 2.5 million men had been the victims of domestic abuse.”

I would question those statistics, but at least the plight of men wasn’t ignored completely.

However, the day before that report appeared the same august publication ran this story:

“Couples who smoke cannabis are less likely to engage in domestic violence, US research suggests.

Married couples who both use cannabis at least twice a month reported the least perpetration of violence. If only the husband used cannabis, this reduced the likelihood of the wife being violent.”

Ah, so that explains why my ex-wife was abusive to me, I didn’t smoke cannabis.  In fact, I’ve never smoke cannabis.  Maybe I should have done if this ‘reduced the likelihood of the wife being violent.’

However my favourite report also appeared on the 28th August , but in one of our tabloid newspapers, The Sun:

“A Solicitor was under fire yesterday for claiming kebabs could cut domestic violence.  Janet Hood, 57, spoke at a licensing hearing to get a takeaway’s opening hours extended.  She said in Dundee eating would make drunks too tired to attack.  Ms Hood added: “Medical evidence suggests eating after drinking helps induce sleep, which could help lower alcohol-related domestic violence.”

Now if you know me, you will know that I love and enjoy eating kebabs.  And, unlike the majority of the population, I enjoy these when I’m sober and I certainly don’t fall asleep after consumption.  However, it set me thinking about my past.

Both my ex-wife and myself never drank alcohol as part of our religious observance.  So her violence towards me wasn’t alcohol-induced.  She also seldom ate kebabs preferring to order fish when I visited the local takeaway.  For me, it was kebabs as the healthy option (well, you do get a portion of salad with them).  

I can’t comment on the effects of Cannabis, but Kebabs didn’t cut out the violence I experienced.  In fact, I probably ate more kebabs because I was a victim of Domestic Violence
.  I didn’t drink alcohol or smoke, so comfort eating kebabs was my escape from the suffering I endured.

You can call me fat because I have eaten too many kebabs.  Maybe I should have smoked cannabis instead but that would have had other implications for me I’m sure (It would also have been contravening the religious views I held at that time) .

Smoking Cannabis or eating kebabs will never cut domestic violence.  You couldn’t make it up, but someone obviously did!!!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Being Politically Correct

Rotherham, a place now synonymous with yet another child abuse scandal.  Over 1,400 young girls were groomed by a large gang of perpetrators.  The real tragedy of this is that all the authorities were aware of what was happening but choose to turn a blind eye because they were more fearful of upsetting the PC Brigade.  Rather than being branded as Racist ,the powers that be decided to ignore the cries for help from young, Caucasian girls allowing their Asian perpetrators to continue carrying out sickening attacks. 
Similar gangs had been victimising young girls in other parts of the United Kingdom and have only recently been brought to justice such as Oxford and Derby.  The scale of known abuse in Rotherham is horrific and any culture that has allowed such crimes to flourish should be condemned.

Were the roles reversed, and young asian girls were reporting being attacked by Caucasian males, I’m certain that the crimes would have been thoroughly investigated by the authorities and those involved would have quickly been dealt with.

Instead, fearful of being seen as targeting an ethnic group and being labelled as Institutionally Racist, the authorities were apathetic.

This comes after the revelations that Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris and many other well-known personalities exploited their privileged iconic statuses to violate many innocent victims.  Again, accusations were ignored because of the perpetrators appearing above the law.  

People seem willing to exploit their fame, race and gender creating a cesspool of perversion.

Such Political Correctness is not about Equality and Diversity.  If it was , allegations would have been investigated when first made. 

The authorities, apprehensive of upsetting a powerful ethnic group, decided to ignore the many claims being made.    This doesn’t just happen with race, the same ‘political correctness’ applies to gender issues too. 

The same authorities, afraid of being accused as ‘sexist’ by militant feminists will act in similar fashion ignoring the cries for help from men.  As a result, many crimes committed by women against men are ignored. 

When I’ve received ‘Children/Vulnerable persons’ training, an integral part of the session is that any and all accusations of abuse must be accepted and referred to the appropriate agency.  Clearly, that has not been happening in England and gives the abuser even greater power of their victims. The statement  “No-body will believe you because a) of my race b) of my gender  c) I’m famous,”  needs to lose its power over the victim, but this can only happen when all victims of abuse know that there exists a safe system in which they can confidently speak out into. 
False allegations are soon proved to be false, the truth always stands out.  It’s time for the climate to change.  ALL abuse is wrong and the words of a victim must be believed and acted upon.   

Sunday, 17 August 2014


A report appeared in my local newspaper that  led to  an online discussion about the nature of Domestic Violence where a 32 year old woman admitted she assaulted her partner by throwing a garden spiked candle-holder at him.  The third throw hit him causing a two inch cut.   It was good to see that a man felt he could press charges, although it was actually the man’s mother who reported the crime.  Good on her I say.
Anyhow, what annoyed me was the punishment dished out to the woman.   She got a community order which included 14 sessions at the local women's centre.    What are they going to teach her there ??? That she was really the victim as men are to blame for everything? Will they help her improve her aim so that next time it only takes her one attempt to hit her target???? Absolutely unbelievable.

Expressing this view led to some comments that seemed to want to justify the woman’s actions.  He must have deserved it, he had it coming, he must have provoked her, it must have been self-defence etc.  When excessive force is used however, it can’t be self-defence, more a case of mutual violence.

And yet, were the gender roles reversed, no-one would try and justify such action.  It would be wrong because he was a nasty man attacking an innocent woman.  He certainly would not have got a community order punishment which included 14 sessions at a local men’s centre.  Dare I say it, his punishment most likely would have been at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. 

I’ve encountered such attitudes before, and I have to say that strangely enough, its women who will try to justify the actions of another violent woman.  It’s as if they can’t accept that women can be as violent as men,  and so there has to be some rationale behind the assault.

There is NEVER any justification for any form of domestic  violence.  There is no excuse for domestic abuse. 

Please don’t try to justify any one else’s violence.  They may be ill, they may need help etc, but that is NO EXCUSE EVER.  Think about it next time, any assault is verbally indefensible. 

Sunday, 10 August 2014


I’ve been meditating on ‘Hope’ for some months now.  It strikes me that hope is the one thing we all hold on to when everything else comes crashing down.  The appeal is that we can always hope for something better. 
For example, in a relationship blighted by domestic violence, the victim very seldom leaves when the abuse first manifests itself.  We ‘hope’ for change.  We make excuses for the perpetrator telling ourselves that they are not well, they are under stress, they may be drinking too much etc.  We hope that they will ‘get better’ or change and everything will be fine.  The longer the situation carries on, the victim realises that this particular ‘hope’ won’t occur, so the hope changes.  The victim hopes for a day when everything is peaceful, and tries to do nothing that would cause offence or trigger a violent episode in their partner.  However, even this approach is flawed, because the mood swings are so random and unpredictable as the perpetrator will find any reason to attack.   Finally, when the victim is completely worn down, feeling worthless and virtually hopeless, the glimmer of a new future away from the perpetrator presents a new hope.  Just how though, remains a mystery as the victim can’t see any way to escape and by this time, all rational thought processes have been destroyed by the constant abuse suffered.
People need hope to survive.  The oppressed often turn to religion because of the hope faith offers.  Most (if not all) faith offers you the hope of a better life in the next world.  “Today’s life will be tough and hard, but don’t worry” adherents of a religion will tell you, “because if you follow XXXXXX  or this path, you will be fine in the next world/life.”  The promise of something better in the future gives hope.  Pie in the Sky when you die.  Furthermore, if you look to a religion/faith for hope, its followers are most embracing and welcoming of you especially when they think they may have a new recruit.  They will do anything and offer all sorts of assistance to make you want to feel part of that group.   Mind you if you turn your back on that group, your so-called friends may no longer offer you the same hand of friendship you previously experienced.   The future hope you signed up to when you acknowledged believe in that faith system evaporates.  You are no longer one of the chosen ones.
Hope is always there.  Hope is not reliant on external circumstances or beliefs.  There comes a time when you just have to grasp it.  Any abusive relationship will never change and if you are being victimised, your only hope is leaving and starting again.  Staying will only result in further problems and difficulties and could even cost you your life.  That hope you may have of a life free from abuse is available to you, but you have to grasp it with both hands and doing that requires a big, bold step.

Sunday, 3 August 2014


At a recent family gathering, I was asked what my views were concerning Karma.  It seemed a little strange as an opening gambit from a relative who I only tend to see at family occasions.  However, I’ve often posted about my spiritual journey which has taken me from being a Christian church minister  to flirting with Atheism.  So I guess, it wasn’t  that strange a question after all.  I had certainly been reflecting on my own beliefs and the origins of personal belief.  My initial response was to say that “it’s probably easier to say what I don’t believe, rather than what I do believe.”

I don’t believe in the concepts of eternal/everlasting or indeed previous lives now.  The only thing we know with any certainty is that we are living this life now.  There is no factual evidence for anything before or after.  I know that some people claim to have had near-death experiences that equate to their own particular belief of what happens next, and there are those who under a form of hypnosis called past-life regression.   My own take on these ‘experiences’ is that the person’s own belief system has already influenced that person’s mind, so your sub conscious tells you what you want to hear. 

Similarly, well-meaning Christians have tried to convince me of the errors of my ways in turning my back on their faith by employing  Pascal’s Wager.  Pascal's Wager is an argument in philosophy which was devised by the seventeenth-century French philosopher, mathematician, and physicist Blaise Pascal (1623–1662). It posits that humans all bet with their lives either that God exists or not. Given the possibility that God actually does exist and assuming an infinite gain or loss associated with belief or unbelief in said God (as represented by an eternity in heaven or hell), a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss.  In other words, you have nothing to infinite loss, but everything to gain by believing in a God.  If the Judeo-Christian God doesn’t exist, you lose nothing.  It’s a hedge your bets argument.  Strange when most Christians/church teaching is opposed to Gambling, they ask you to ‘bet on the existence of god.’

As for Karma I can’t hold the view that my existence in a previous life, affects my current position now.  I have made conscious decisions and then had to live with the consequences of those decisions, many positive and some negative.  Nothing from an unknown past has influenced those decisions. 

However, there is a different type of Karma that we all often refer too.  Phrase like “What goes round comes round,” and “they’ll get what coming to them” has entered our vocabulary.   When someone hurts us or commits an injustice against us and isn’t punished, we use the afore-mentioned statements hoping that everything balances out, that the pain we have felt will soon be inflicted on the person that hurt us.  Does it happen?  It would be nice and rather comforting to think that it does, but in all reality it probably doesn’t.  My abuser has never accepted any responsibility for her actions and has failed to grasp the impact and consequences of her violent actions have had on me or our children.  While I hoped that natural karma would happen, so far it hasn’t.  She carried on living her live oblivious to the destruction she’s caused.  For me, I had to let go of wanting such karma to happen and move on with my life.   While I was anxious for my abuser to receive retribution for her crimes against me, the angst it caused me was a way of still allowing her to abuse me.    I guess I don’t believe in any form of Karma either. 

All that matters to me is the here and now and what I make of it.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Meeting the Criteria for Help , Support and Protection

Earlier this year, I also had first-hand contact with the local DV services.  Despite a desperate situation which cried out for additional support and help, the Local Authority decided that the ‘case’  didn’t  meet their criteria for referral.  I won’t elaborate on the case itself because it’s not only my story but affects others.  Suffice to say that you didn’t need to be an expert to realise that the mental health of the person concerned was a direct result of that person witnessing long-term Domestic Abuse.    However, not enough boxes were ticked, so the person concerned struggles on battling personal demons until another crisis point will be hit.  I wonder who will be there to try and pick up the pieces?

So how do these well-paid ‘experts  decide on who is worthy of their services?   Local authority professionals fill in a form and if they tick enough boxes, you get support, help and protection.  If you don’t score high enough, tough luck!!    There’s no support or help for you.

What follows is the MARAC Risk Identification and Assessment  Forms which is also called DASH.  MARAC stands for Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference and DASH stands for Domestic Abuse, Stalking , Harassment and Honour based violence.  The form and questions are pretty much standardised right across the United Kingdom.

See what you think….

Referral Details

Most recent Crime Reference Number:  (if known)

Reasons for Referral:

o  Professional Judgement (Please state clearly in Background and Risk issues below the reasons. -

o  14 or more ticks on the Risk Indicator Checklist (RIC)     (number of ticks ­­­___ )

o  5 police call outs in the past 12 months between the same parties / people.

o Repeat Referral.
 To meet this criterion, the answer to the following 2 statements must be YES.
  1. Since the case was last discussed at MARAC, a further crime has occurred within the last 12 months.
  2. The perpetrator and victim are the same as those on the previous MARAC.
How did this case come to your notice e.g. report made to the Police or referral received from another agency.

Background & Risk Issues
Please provide summary of reasons for referral.  If a Risk Indicator Checklist (RIC) was used, or referral made on Professional Judgement, please state clearly the risk factors:

A MARAC referral must be discussed with the victim. Has consent been given for a MARAC referral? 
(If not, please complete an Information Sharing Without Consent Form which is at the end of this document.)
Yes / No

What RISK MANAGEMENT plan is currently in place to safeguard this Victim?
Please write in below, all safeguarding measure already in place.  For example, bail conditions, Non-Molestation Order, Safeguarding Meeting etc.

What SAFEGUARDING MEASURES is the REFERRING AGENCY hoping to achieve through the MARAC?
For example, housing support etc.

What outcome is the VICTIM hoping to achieve through this MARAC referral to help them feel safe and reduce risk?


CAADA-DASH MARAC Risk Indicator Checklist

for the identification of high risk cases of domestic abuse, stalking and ‘honour’-based violence

This checklist has been adopted from CAADA for use within the MARAC.  The primary purpose of the form is to identify risk to the adult victim and to be able to offer appropriate resources/support in the form of the MARAC for the most serious cases.

Practitioners must be aware that this is a risk identification checklist and not a full risk assessment nor a case management form.  It is a practical tool that can help you to identify which of your clients should be referred to MARAC and how you should be prioritizing the use of your resources.  Risk is dynamic and practitioners need to be alert to the fact that risk can change very suddenly.   The presence of children increases the wider risks of domestic violence and step children are particularly at risk. However, this tool is not a full risk assessment for children. If risk towards children is highlighted you should consider what referral you need to make to obtain a full assessment of the children’s situation.

Please explain that the purpose of asking these questions is for the safety and protection of the individual concerned. Tick the box if the factor is present R. Please use the comment box at the end of the form to expand on any answer. It is assumed that your main source of information is the victim. If this is not the case please indicate in the right hand column

State source of info if not the victim e.g. police officer
  1. Has the current incident resulted in injury? (Please state what and whether this is the first injury.)

  1. Are you very frightened? 

  1. What are you afraid of?  Is it further injury or violence?  (Please give an indication of what you think (name of abuser(s)...) might do and to whom, including children)

4.     Do you feel isolated from family/friends i.e. does (name of abuser(s)………..) try to stop you from
seeing friends/family/doctor or others?

  1. Are you feeling depressed or having suicidal thoughts?

  1. Have you separated or tried to separate from (name of abuser(s)….) within the past year?

  1. Is there conflict over child contact?

8.     Does (……) constantly text, call, contact, follow, stalk or harass you? (Please expand to identify what and whether you believe that this is done deliberately to intimidate you? Consider the context and behaviour of what is being done.)

9.     Are you pregnant or have you recently had a baby (within the last 18 months)?

  1. Is the abuse happening more often?

11.  Is the abuse getting worse?

  1. Does (……) try to control everything you do and/or are they excessively jealous? (In terms of relationships, who you see, being ‘policed at home’, telling you what to wear for example.  Consider ‘honour’-based violence and specify behaviour.)

  1. Has (……..) ever used weapons or objects to hurt you?

Tick box if factor is present. Please use the comment box at the end of the form to expand on any answer.

State source of info if not the victim e.g. police officer
14.  Has (……..) ever threatened to kill you or someone else and you believed them? (If yes, tick who.)
      You ¨        Children ¨            Other (please specify) ¨

  1. Has (………) ever attempted to strangle/choke/suffocate/drown you?

  1. Does (……..) do or say things of a sexual nature that make you feel bad or that physically hurt you or someone else?  (If someone else, specify who.)

17.  Is there any other person who has threatened you or who you are afraid of?  (If yes, please specify whom and why. Consider extended family if HBV.)

  1. Do you know if (………..) has hurt anyone else? (Please specify whom including the children, siblings or elderly relatives. Consider HBV.)

      Children ¨          Another family member ¨       
      Someone from a previous relationship ¨    
      Other (please specify) ¨

19.  Has (……….) ever mistreated an animal or the family pet?

  1. Are there any financial issues? For example, are you dependent on (…..) for money/have they recently lost their job/other financial issues?

  1. Has (……..) had problems in the past year with drugs (prescription or other), alcohol or mental health leading to problems in leading a normal life?  (If yes, please specify which and give relevant details if known.)

      Drugs ¨          Alcohol ¨           Mental Health ¨

  1. Has (……) ever threatened or attempted suicide?

23.  Has (………) ever broken bail/an injunction and/or formal agreement for when they can see you and/or the children? (You may wish to consider this in relation to an ex-partner of the perpetrator if relevant.)

Bail conditions  ¨   Non Molestation/Occupation Order  ¨ 
Child Contact arrangements ¨ 
Forced Marriage Protection Order  ¨     Other  ¨

24.  Do you know if (……..) has ever been in trouble with the police or has a criminal history?  (If yes, please specify.)

      DV  ¨    Sexual violence ¨    Other violence ¨         Other  ¨

Total ‘yes’ responses    

For consideration by professional: Is there any other relevant information (from victim or professional) which may increase risk levels?  Consider victim’s situation in relation to disability, substance misuse, mental health issues, cultural/language barriers, ‘honour’- based systems and minimisation. Are they willing to engage with your service?  Describe:

Consider abuser’s occupation/interests-could this give them unique access to weapons? Describe:

What are the victim’s greatest priorities to address their safety?

Do you believe that there are reasonable grounds for referring this case to MARAC? Yes  /  No

If yes, have you made a referral?  Yes/No

Signed:                                                                                                                 Date:
Do you believe that there are risks facing the children in the family?         Yes  /  No

If yes, please confirm if you have made a referral to safeguard the children:     Yes  /  No

Date referral made...........................................   




Practitioners’ Notes

Guidance on making a referral to the  MARAC threshold

The xxxxx MARAC has three criteria by which a case can meet threshold:

  1. Professional Judgement: if a professional has serious concerns about a victim’s situation, they should refer the case to MARAC.  There will be occasions where the particular context of a case gives rise to serious concerns even if the victim has been unable to disclose the information that might highlight their risk more clearly.  This could reflect extreme levels of fear, cultural barriers to disclosure, immigration issues or language barriers particularly in cases of ‘honour’-based violence. This judgement would be based on the professional’s experience and/or the victim’s perception of their risk even if they do not meet criteria 2 and/or 3 below. 

  1. Visible High Risk: the number of ‘ticks’ on this checklist.  If you have ticked 14 or more ‘yes’ boxes the case would meet the MARAC referral threshold OR

  1. Potential Escalation: the number of police callouts to the victim as a result of domestic abuse in the past 12 months.  This criterion can be used to identify cases where there is not a positive identification of a majority of the risk factors on the list, but where abuse appears to be escalating and where it is appropriate to assess the situation more fully by sharing information at MARAC

Please pay particular attention to a practitioner’s professional judgement in all cases.  The results from a checklist are not a definitive assessment of risk.  They should provide you with a structure to inform your judgement and act as prompts to further questioning, analysis and risk management whether via a MARAC or in another way. 

MARAC Repeat

A repeat MARAC case is one where any of the following types of behaviour have taken place within 12 months of a victim’s first referral to MARAC:

  • Violence or threats of violence to the victim; or
  • Where there is a pattern of stalking or harassment; or
  • Were rape or sexual abuse is disclosed.

Where these criteria are met, the victim should be re-referred to MARAC regardless of whether they meet the MARAC threshold.


This section must be completed for MARAC referrals made without consent and should also be sent via Secure email to xxxxxx   with the Referral and Risk Indicator Checklist.

The below link explains which of the above E-mail addresses you should send referrals to.  


Immediate risk / crisis                          
Risk identified through risk assessment
Child(ren) at risk/Danger to child(ren)

Danger to client                                                                  

Client poses a risk to self or others                                                       

Risk Identification Checklist
(number of ticks)

Incident/information causing concern  (include source of information)

Legal Authority to Share

ð        Protocol relevant ___________________­_______________    OR

        Legal grounds (please tick 1 or more grounds below)

ð        Prevention and detection of crime  (Crime and Disorder Act 1998)

ð        Prevention/detection or crime and/or apprehension or prosecution of offenders  (DPA, s. 29)

ð        To protect vital interests of the data subject; serious harm or matter of life or death (DPA, Sch. 2 & 3)

ð        For the administration of justice (usually brining perpetrators to justice  (DPA, Sch. 2 & 3)

ð        For the exercise of functions conferred on any person by or under any enactment (police/social services)  (DPA, Sch. 2 & 3)

ð        In accordance with a court order

ð        Overriding public interest  (Common law)

ð        Child protection – disclosure to social services or police for the exercise of functions under the Children Act, where the public interest in safeguarding the child’s welfare overrides the need to keep the information confidential  (DPA, Sch. 2 & 3)

ð        Right to life  (Human Rights Act, Art. 2 & 3)

ð        Right to be free from torture or inhuman or degrading treatment  (Human Rights Act, Art. 2 & 3)

Balancing Considerations

ð        Pressing need

ð        Respective risks to those affected

ð        Risk of not disclosing

ð        Interest of other agency/person in receiving it

ð        Public interest in disclosure

ð        Human rights

ð        Duty of confidentiality


Internal consultations
 (Names, dates and advice/decisions)

External consultations
(Home Office guidance, Information-sharing Helpline)

Client Notification

Client notified of disclosure(s)? 
Date of notification
Please insert date of disclosure
If not, why not?       


Date for review of this situation 
(Review to include feedback from the agencies informed as to their response)
Date of notification
Please insert date of disclosure
Who is responsible for ensuring the situation is reviewed by this date.

Record following details of information sharing in case file:

·       Date info shared; Agency and named person informed; Method of contact (by email, letter, phone call); Legal authority for each agency

Signed and dated by caseworker                    Authorised and dated by manager