Archive for February, 2011

February 27, 2011

CAADA’s response to the Legal Aid Consultation

CAADA recently responded to the Ministry of Justice proposals for the reform of Legal Aid. Read on for for our full response to this public consultation. 

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February 21, 2011

Rape still more serious than lies

More on the CPS interim guidance on perverting the course of justice…

Rape still more serious than lies | Halsbury’s Law Exchange.

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February 21, 2011

Perverting the Course of Justice – false allegations in rape and domestic abuse cases

Just before Christmas the CPS announced new interim guidance to deal with false allegations in cases of domestic abuse and rape.  Prosecutors are faced with difficult decisions as to whether they should prosecute in such cases for perverting the course of justice.  The consultation can be found on http://www.cps.gov.uk/consultations/pcj_index.html

The key questions that prosecutors now need to consider are set out below:

14. When prosecutors are considering the case of complainants who have retracted allegations of rape or domestic violence, they should always ask themselves the following questions.

15. First, whether there is evidence which tends to suggest that the original allegation was or may have been true. Such evidence might include:

  • medical evidence,
  • the tape of any 999 call,
  • any CCTV footage,
  • any other evidence (e.g. witnesses, DNA, etc.).

16. Second, the prosecutor should always consider whether there is a background of domestic violence which may have influenced the complainant’s decision to retract. Useful sources of information may include the specialist support services such as the Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) or Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) if involved in the case. Prosecutors might also consider the complainant’s GP records, the Multi-agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) notes, the Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Harassment and Honour-based and Forced Marriage (DASH) risk assessment, or whether there have been previous call-outs of the police to the address.

17. In double retraction cases, the prosecutor should be cautious about charging two alternative counts of perverting the course of justice. If the prosecution is unable to prove that the original allegation was false then there will not be a realistic prospect of conviction. It is not proper for the prosecution to charge two mutually inconsistent counts and then invite the jury to choose which one it prefers (Tsang Ping-Nam v R (1982) 74 Cr. App. R. 139).

Something for all IDVAs to be aware of.

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February 18, 2011

Governmental “Crowding Out” in Philanthropy

Little risk of Governmental ‘Crowding Out’ at the moment but fascinating reading…Personally I would agree that for many charities who have become very dependent on statutory funding, the traditional fund raising efforts have been wound down.  The question now is, how fast can they be wound back up….

Governmental “Crowding Out” in Philanthropy | Tactical Philanthropy.

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February 18, 2011

Beware the poor lawyer: the legal aid reform responses

5,000 responses to the legal aid consultation.  See this post for more feedback on the legal aid consultation.  There are some interesting excerpts from charities and legal bodies about the impact of the ‘reforms’.

Our response focused on the impact on victims of domestic abuse and the very limited definition of what constitutes domestic abuse.  Our concerns centre on the risk of dual and false allegations, being cross examined by litigants in person and no legal aid for interim care orders…..as well as the apparent lack of recognition for other vulnerable people who might need legal advice- those with mental health and substance misuse problems for example.  Let’s hope that 5,000 responses will make the MOJ see sense.

Beware the poor lawyer: the legal aid reform responses « UK Human Rights Blog.

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February 17, 2011

Who’s to blame for charity cuts?

You may have seen in yesterday’s Guardian that Denise Marshall, Director of Eaves Housing for Women is handing back her OBE, highlighting her frustration with the cuts her charity is facing.  New Philanthropy Capital have highlighted some wider issues.  See below:

Who’s to blame for charity cuts? | New Philanthropy Capital’s Blog.

February 16, 2011

Fascinating research into how local authorities work with fathers who perpetrate domestic abuse

This research has just been published by the Family Rights Group and highlights some fascinating information about the ‘invisibility’ of fathers in child protection and children in need cases where domestic abuse was an issue.

The audit of the 70 case files in three authorities found that:

  • The majority but not all perpetrators of domestic abuse were birth fathers.
  • In 57 cases the perpetrator of the domestic abuse was the birth father and in 12 cases the mother’s partner.

The severity of the abuse was stark:

  • In 41% of the cases the adult victim had been pregnant at the time of being abused.
  • In at least 37% of the cases there had been more than six separate reported incidents of domestic violence.
  • A great many of the children were in contact with their fathers.
  • Only 12% of perpetrators were noted on the files as having definitely lost contact as a result of the domestic violence. But in only 31 cases (44%) was the phone number of the birth father on the files.
  • There was a lack of assessment and information about the parenting capacity of 61% of these fathers.
  • In the sample, 48 core assessments were undertaken (i.e. to assess the level of the child’s need/or to assess risk when there were child protection concerns)  yet the father was not seen or contacted by phone in 32% (15) of these cases.
  • The offer of attending a domestic violence perpetrator programme was made to only 14 of the 53 perpetrators.

Family Rights Group :: Press releases.

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February 14, 2011

Big Society Bank

I have just come back from a fascinating ‘Social Investment Summit’ hosted in the City, and with a wide range of government and private sector speakers.  You will have seen the launch of the Big Society Bank which aims to provide loan capital to charities and social entreprises to allow them to expand their work, access local authority contracts and deliver better services.  The bank will be funded in part by the large high street banks and in part from so-called ‘dormant’ bank accounts – i.e. accounts that have been forgotten!  The first source is expected to provide £200m in loan capital and the second, anything from £60m up to £400m.  The bank is due to start its operations in the third quarter of this year.

The transition from grant funding to generating fees is not necessarily an easy one – but we should be encouraged at the effort that is being put into this area not just by government, but by a wide range of different organisations.  Historically one of the reasons why the voluntary sector has been held back is the lack of capital to build organisations.  Let’s hope that this goes some way to addressing this problem.  Certainly it links in with the thinking in our strategy that we should focus on outcome driven funding, or payment by results.  The skill is in ensuring that the results are good for the people we are trying to help, and not just for the provider.

February 14, 2011

Risk and Children

I just wanted to give you a quick update on our work in relation to risk and children.  We know from numerous serious case reviews when a child is killed or seriously harmed, that all too often the practitioners working with the parent fail to see the risks to the child, particularly in families with domestic abuse, substance misuse and mental health problems.  We know from Safety in Numbers the extent of risk that children living with domestic abuse face – 40% lived with conflict around contact, nearly a quarter had direct threats and over 10% had suffered threats to kill.

CAADA is trying to address this in two ways.  One is via our new CPD module ‘Safeguarding Children Living with Domestic Abuse’ and the second is to explore how we can give practitioners some practical tools and guidance to highlight risks to children – not just from domestic abuse – but more widely with substance misuse, mental health and homelessness.  Last week we hosted a preliminary meeting with several outside agencies representing substance misuse, safeguarding, and domestic abuse services.  I am optimistic that we can create something useful – not a risk tool in the sense of the CAADA risk identification checklist, but rather a set of questions that reminds practitioners that: ‘their client is also a parent’ – something which we can all too easily ignore.  I will keep you posted as the work develops.  It goes without saying, this is critically important.

February 5, 2011

Why don’t charities sing their own praises? | New Philanthropy Capital’s Blog

A nice mention for us from NPC. I guess that the answer to their question is that it is just more effective when other people sing them….

 

Why don’t charities sing their own praises? | New Philanthropy Capital’s Blog.