Archive for January, 2011

January 30, 2011

On the naughty step – a bag of wind

On the naughty step – a bag of wind | Nearly Legal.

Echoing Jill’s comment about the Sunday Times article about Yemshaw, here is another…from the Daily Mail.

January 28, 2011

Important Supreme Court Decision on Yemshaw v Hounslow

Yesterday, the Supreme Court made a landmark judgment in relation to victims of abuse seeking to be rehoused under the 1996 Housing Act.  In contrast to an earlier decision in 2002 (Danesh v RBK&C) the court held that “domestic violence” in s. 177(1) of the 1996 Act includes physical violence, threatening or intimidating behaviour and any other form of abuse which, directly or indirectly, may give rise to the risk of harm. (My emphasis).  Please take note all IDVAs!

January 26, 2011

From the helpdesk

On the MARAC helpdesk we get some pretty tricky questions from time to time.  We then refer to outside experts.  This week we had one about the rights of EU migrant women to access public funding and another about the role of Safeguarding Adults within MARAC and how that fits with the wider safeguarding procedures.  Please contact the helpdesk or use the FAQ wiki if you need to know more.

January 24, 2011

Watch this!

YouTube – All The Way To Five.

January 16, 2011

Legal Aid – proposed changes

I would urge you to read the excellent briefing prepared by Rights of Women about the proposed changes to legal aid.  Rights of Women – Policy and research.  These are really far reaching and will have serious implications for the working of the family justice system.  We will prepare a formal response but you might want to respond to the consultation personally.  Details are on the Ministry of Justice website.

January 16, 2011

In the back of an ambulance

No, I wasn’t in the back of an ambulance this week but I did have the chance to meet the safeguarding leads from the different regional ambulance trusts around England.  They had helped with the creation of our Ambulance MARAC toolkit.  I learnt a couple of interesting facts for the MARAC anoraks among us.

  • An ambulance trust cannot flag and tag a MARAC case, since they will always flag an address rather than a person.  If the person moves house, the flag would not move with them.
  • Much of the information that ambulance staff collect relates to perpetrators – often with mental health and substance misuse problems.  They see many cases where the perpetrator has self harmed for example.  All highly relevant to MARAC.
  • Typically trusts do not have the capacity to attend MARAC – but actions for them could include always making sure that patients from a certain address are always seen in hospital rather than at home – which is a generous offer since they have a target to try and keep hospital admissions to a minimum.

And in the words of one of the attendees – ‘We learn at MARAC that the police will only attend in pairs, with alsatians and more.  Our staff attend with blankets and bandages.’

January 16, 2011

Are you 30 years out of date?

This week I had a real treat.  On Friday I was asked to talk to a group of judges about the role of MARACs in relation to the Family Courts.  As part of this, I had the opportunity to listen to HH Judge John Platt on the subject of Family Law Act injunctions.  So the things I learnt were:

  • That the breach of a non-molestation order is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.  ( I did know that).  But, any offence which carries a potential sentence of 5 years gives the defendent the right to have trial by jury.  Probably not what was intended when the law was passed!
  • That judges can now use a selection of standard clauses to put appropriate constraints within a non-mol order.  These now include ‘making or causing to make abusive comments via Facebook or other social networking sites’.  Useful for IDVAs to know about.

And the 30 years out of date?  In the words of HH Judge John Platt, in reference to those granting non-molestation orders: ‘Those of you who are looking for recent violence are 30 years out of date.’  So the message about the significance of jealous and controlling behaviour, stalking and harassment was not lost on this audience.