Archive for January, 2012

January 30, 2012

Protecting Our Children – a snapshot from Children’s Social Workers

Interesting suggestion for my blog from the Head of Services at Berkshire East and South Bucks Women’s Aid, Delia Donovan – which coincides with the broadcast tonight on the BBC of a new series about social workers in Bristol called ‘Protecting Our Children’.  If you get a chance to watch it, please do comment here or via Twitter or the CAADA Facebook page.  We are working with 3 other organisations, on a new tool for IDVAs to help identify opportunities for earlier intervention and support for children living with domestic abuse, substance misuse and mental health issues.  It is still in draft but I will write more here about it when it is ready.

Anyway, see below for the latest results from a survey of social workers – not surprising but troubling all the same.

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January 29, 2012

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Five-Year Agenda

Thanks to Vinny Smith from Development Initiatives for sending me the news of the UN Secretary-General’s new 5 year action plan.  We welcome these initiatives very warmly.


1. Deepen the UN campaign to end violence against women by enhancing support for countries to adopt legislation that criminalizes violence against women and provides reparations and remedies to victims, provide women with access to justice and pursue and prosecute perpetrators of violence against women.

2. Promote women’s political participation worldwide by encouraging countries to adopt measures that guarantee women’s equal access to political leadership, managing elections to promote women’s engagement and building the capacity of women to be effective leaders. Place a special focus on the Secretary-General’s seven-point action plan on women’s participation in peacebuilding.

3. Develop an action agenda for ensuring the full participation of women in social and economic recovery through a multi-stakeholder partnership with government, the private sector and civil society. This should include recommendations on inheritance laws, wages, childcare, work-sharing and taxes.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Five-Year Agenda.

January 26, 2012

Why I love my job…

There are good days, bad days and days when you remember what a great job you have.  Yesterday was one of the latter.  I was delighted to host the first semi annual meeting of the managers of the accredited Leading Lights IDVA services.  I was slightly anxious beforehand as I wasn’t too sure how it would go.  I shouldn’t have worried.

I spent two of the most energising hours of the year with about a dozen service managers, hearing what they had achieved, how they were dealing with the current environment and a bit about their plans for the future.  I talked briefly (well as briefly as I could manage) about CAADA’s strategy and how we hope to achieve our 5 year goals of halving the number of high risk victims from 100,000 to 50,000 and halving the time it takes for them to get help from 5 years to 2.5 years – with all that this means for the safety and well-being of their children.  We then heard from Advance about their approach to working with commissioners.  They have recently been successful in expanding their IDVA service from Hammersmith and Fulham and Brent, to Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea.  Finally, we had a fascinating discussion about the work that Blackpool Advocacy are doing with children and young people affected by domestic abuse, funded through Comic Relief.  This is obviously particularly relevant in view of the Government’s consultation about dropping the age of domestic abuse to 16.

Our plan is to meet again in six months, give ourselves a longer time to discuss things and perhaps invite in an outside speaker – as well as welcoming the newly accredited services to the party!  I know that everyone knows this – but the dedication and creativity of the people around the table was outstanding – so I will say it one more time.  And it is one reason why I love my job….

January 12, 2012

Not great if you are in a hurry…

See below for the latest statistics from the Ministry of Justice about the length of time taken by different types of cases and their wider comments on plans to reduce these.  Not great if you are in a hurry…

Ministy of Justice Logo

The Ministry of Justice has today published court statistics, which for the first time show the average duration of civil and family cases at every County Court.  These statistics, which support the case for a comprehensive reform programme across the justice system, also show the duration of criminal cases at every Crown Court and local magistrates’ court group.  This will enable the public to see how quickly cases are handled at their local court, and to compare it to other courts across England and Wales.

The new timeliness statistics showed that in July to September 2011, on average:

  • Care proceedings took 55 weeks.
  • Hearings for small claims (under £5,000) in civil courts took place 30 weeks after the claim was originally made. The figure was 57 weeks for higher value cases, which are dealt with by a different process.
  • Criminal cases were completed 152 days after the offence.

Ministers have already committed to a series of reforms to speed up the justice process. Measures include improved technology, more use of mediation to solve civil and family disputes, and simplifying processes to reduce delays and frustration for victims and witnesses of crime.

The Government’s reform programme extends across the family, civil and criminal justice systems.  For example, on family justice,  the Government will introduce a six month time limit for care cases to be completed, so that the system provides the best service to those at the heart of the system – children.  On civil justice, one of the measures in the Government’s proposals that were published last year was to give thousands more people the opportunity to consider telephone-based mediation as a simpler, quicker way to resolve their differences rather than going to court.  And on criminal justice, the Government has set out its intentions to abolish unnecessary committal hearings for ‘either way’ crimes to help save thousands of hours of court time each year.

The Government will publish its full response to the Family Justice Review and civil justice consultation shortly.

January 11, 2012

Welsh Women’s Aid facts underline need for changes to Legal Aid Bill

Welsh Women’s Aid and Rights of Women have just published a very timely survey of over 300 women using WWA member services and their eligibility for legal aid under the proposed legislation.  The information was collected in the week of 15-21 December and showed that almost half of those surveyed would not be eligible under the current proposed evidence requirements for verifying domestic abuse.  Interestingly, the single largest group who would be eligible were those who had had their case heard at a MARAC – at over 30% of the total.  The survey is well worth looking at


January 3, 2012

100th Post!

So this is my 100th Post on my blog – a small milestone after a year of blogging.  I have read lots of end of  year blogs, with highlights of the best posts of the year but that feels rather risky so I thought I would just summarise one of the bits of reading that I caught up on over the holidays.  It is the evaluation of the St Mary’s Pathway project in Manchester that was published in 2010 and co-authored by Dr Gillian Granville and Sue Bridge.  (Sue also does great work for CAADA in her ‘spare’ time.)  The evaluation looks at the impact of having an IDVA based in the maternity unit of the hospital on victims, staff and the IDVA themselves.  Here are 5 of the highlights of the report for me, and underline why our proposed work in relation to IDVAs and health is so important.  

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