... fort being made on the side of the police with the set up of more Domestic Violence Units within stations, some headway is being made in protecting women and their children. The DVU officers are there to put women at ease, giving support and advice and helping them get in touch with relevant outside agencies. The DVU practices and procedures are examined within forces by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary. Where there are instances of poor practice, recommendations are made. In the Home Offices study in 1995 it particular commended the work carried out by the Domestic Violence Units and its officers.
They may not be able to protect women from the crime of violence but they are there to listen and advise after the event. (Grace 1995) The Crown Prosecution Service was responsible for a review on criminal proceedings in England and Wales in 1993. With this was published and easy to follow guideline on how to deal with domestic abuse cases. This was later updated in 1995. It emphasised the desirability of prosecuting cases of domestic violence and made particular mention of how the CPS should proceed if a woman decides she wants to withdraw her support for prosecution. (which is in fact a major problem in charging men with domestic violence).
Only this week new proposals have been made by Jack Straw to deal with the withdrawing of support from the victim. If these guidelines go through it would help in the fight against violence as, even if the victim decides not to pursue her attacker, the police can follow through the charge with or without her help. This, in short means that even if the man sweet talks his wife / girlfriend etc into dropping the charges the police can go ahead and charge him anyway. This will help the courts in the sentencing of violent men. The CPS is involved in Home Office-led pilots of "One Stop Shops" for victims of violent crime where they can be kept up to date with the progress of their case, and Victim Statements, which allow the victim to provide information on the impact which the offence has had on them. Domestic violence is included as a case category within these pilot schemes.
Many CPS areas also have representatives who participate in local domestic violence forums; also, the CPS victims / witness care national training programme is currently being developed in consultation with Victim Support and will include the specific needs of victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence is also central to the Probation Service's core functions of crime reduction, public protection and victim contact. It is also a critical factor in Family Court Welfare work and any other work requiring child protection procedures. The probation service recognises the importance of this and undertakes work both directly with perpetrators and in support of those who have survived violence. In 1996 A COP Position Statement about domestic violence recommended that individual services adopt a policy on domestic violence which: SS Affirms that domestic violence should be treated as seriously as any other violent behaviour; SS Promotes the development of a distinctive and effective community programme for perpetrators; SS Commits the service to working in a way which will promote the safety of survivors and children and highlights the importance of working in partnership with other agencies; and SS Recognises that the abuse of male power and control is a central feature to much domestic violence The Home Office, with HM Inspectorate of Probation, is currently developing a training pack on domestic violence to inform the work of the probation service and assist officers in dealing with offenders who have a background in perpetrating domestic violence. Also, the Probation Service is currently working on developing an accredited national programme of perpetrator programmes.
This will include a number of programmes for the perpetrators of domestic violence which will be piloted through the Home Office "Pathfinder" initiative. There has also been a forward thinking change within Part IV of the Family law Act 1996 that deals with domestic violence. The Lord Chancellor implemented this change in October 1997. The Act now requires the police and court to attach the power of arrest to an occupation order or non-molestation order if the respondent has used or threatened violence against the applicant or child concerned unless it is unnecessary for their protection.
Formerly only current spouses and cohabitants could apply for a remedy against domestic violence, but the Act now also covers spouses, former cohabitants and a number of other categories of people within a broadly defined domestic or family relationship. This made it possible for girlfriends' current or past to have the same protection as wives. The safety of fleeing victims of violence is also an important factor when looking at how the state is helping to deal with violence. At the moment many of the "safe houses" for battered women are solely charity based. This means that if the money stops coming in from benefactors then the house has to close. There is a report due for release in spring 2000, which will hopefully tackle this problem.
Within this review it is hoped that state funding will be released to help house victims as well as giving them the support they need to survive their ordeals. Finally addressing offending behaviour is something we must touch upon. There has been an evaluation carried out on two courts ordered treatment programmes for men who had been found guilty of violence against their female partners. ("Change" & Lothian Domestic Violence Probation Programme). The evaluation compared treatment programmes with either more traditional criminal justice sanctions. The research, though base on a small number of men, found that all criminal behaviour justice interventions (fines, community service, prison) appeared to have positive effects on the behaviour of the men convicted of violence against their female partner.
However, the two Scottish re-education programmes were the most successful in reducing violence and associated coercive behaviour. The full report into this was published in 1996 (Research Evaluation of Programmes of Violent Men). In conclusion to the barrage of information given in this essay I have come to see that pre 1980 society or the state did not see a problem with domestic violence. It was just something that happened within some marriages and was coped with. The police were not interested in getting involved in domestic disputes, the courts didn't really seem to have any set rules in how to deal with violent men and there was no outside help there for women who had to live with the threat of violence on a daily basis. Now there are Domestic Violence Units and officers in most of the countries police stations who have been trained to deal with female victims.
The Government is trying to set policies to protect women from their violent partners and give them the help they need. Refuges are a more frequent occurrence than say 20 years ago. Women do have the support they need when either they get hit just once too often or too badly that they have no choice but to seek help or end up another fatality statistic. But all these Acts and reviews and safe houses do not protect the women in their own homes.
Some men still feel it is their right as husbands or partners to lash out at women if they feel like it. All the policies in the world are not going to help the women at that moment in time. But saying that, she does not have to suffer for years on end because she has nowhere to go and no help available. Domestic violence is a crime, but it a crime that still goes on today. The state can only protect and provide to a certain extent, the rest is up to society to educate the youth of today and tomorrow that violence towards another, especially a women is not a mans right. It cannot be tolerated or accepted.
The state can only go so far, the rest is up to better education from a young age. Bibliography BIBLIOGRAPHY Barron et. al. 1992 WAFE Evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee Enquiry into Domestic Violence Bristol: WAFE Woman's Aid Federation (England) Report 1992 Hague & Males 1995 Against Domestic Violence: Inter Agency Initiatives Bristol SAYS Punching Judy BBC Television Programme 1989 Domestic Violence - Report of an Inter Agency Working Party 1992 Mooney J 1994 The Hidden Figures: Domestic Violence in North London London Islington Police & Crime Unit Inter-Agency Circular; Inter Agency Co-Ordination to Tackle Domestic Violence Home Office, 1995 Grace S 1995 Policing Domestic Violence in the 1990's Home Office Research Study British Crime Survey 1996 The Home Office Dobash/Dobash/Cavanagh/Lewis 1996 Research Evaluation of Programmes for violent Men Scottish Office Central Research Unit Dobash/Dobash/Cavanagh/Lewis 1996 Re-Education Programmes for Violent men - an Evaluation Home Office Research Findings No 46 Domestic Violence & Repeat Victimisation Home Office Police Research Briefing Note No 1/98 The Family Law Act Part IV 1996 Word Count: 2885.