Domestic Abuse Convention to be followed in UK.

On the 27th April 2017 The Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Act 2017 received royal assent.

The purpose of this act was to ratify (make official) the UK’s agreement to comply with the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence which is also known as the Istanbul Convention.  

Violence in any form is unacceptable and although domestic abuse is perpetrated against men and women, statistics show that the majority of victims are female. The convention is based upon the understanding that Domestic Abuse is committed by men against women because they are women and as a way to sustain male power and control. The convention places an obligation upon the state to prevent violence, protect victims and prosecute the perpetrators. It is stated that there can be no real equality between men and women if women experience gender based violence and that states that turn a blind eye and do not actively take steps to tackle these issues are complicit.

Countries that ratify the convention are obliged to raise awareness and educate and encourage people to challenge gender stereotypes, harmful traditional practices and misogynistic attitudes, establish shelters, hotlines, medical services, counselling, legal aid, criminalise and actively prosecute all forms of domestic abuse whilst ensuring that culture, tradition or so called honour are not regarded as a defence. The convention also requires countries to give an annual progress report until they are able to say that they are compliant with the convention.

For current victims of domestic abuse there is support available and it is important to get quick, reliable and easy to understand advice to know what your options are. Our family department is able to offer advice in relation to the full range of family law issues including domestic abuse, finances, divorce and children. Karen Johnson, one of the directors at Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd is a Resolution Accredited domestic abuse specialist and Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd are also members of the East Herts and Broxbourne Domestic Abuse Forum.

For more information and support contact us on 01992 558411 or complete our online enquiry form.

 


New Stalking Laws - look who's behind you

untitledThe Home Secretary, Amber Rudd has announced that the Government is set to introduce new Stalking Protection Orders.

The orders in England and Wales aim to offer quick protection to people who find themselves targeted by strangers similar to that which is afforded to domestic abuse victims.

In 2012 the government introduced 2 new offences of stalking via the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. Whilst there is no strict legal definition of ‘Stalking’, the legislation sets out examples of behaviours which can be associated with stalking, eg, following a person, watching or spying on them or forcing contact with them through social media etc. In isolation the conduct can be innocent but when conducted repeatedly the impact upon the victim can cause significant alarm and distress and curtail the victim’s freedom as they feel vulnerable and left constantly looking over their shoulder.

In December 2015 the government launched a consultation paper to consider the protection that was currently offered to victims of stalking and whether and what change could be put in place to offer better protection.

On the 7th December 2012, the Government published its response to the consultation. The consultation identified concerns that current measures lacked consistency, were slow, costly and placed too much responsibility on the victim to protect themselves.

These proposed orders would allow the police to apply to the court for orders even before a suspect is convicted or arrested. This early intervention aims to offer swift protection for victims, prevent behaviours from escalating and removes the onus from the victim to protect themselves

The exact nature of the orders will vary depending upon the circumstances but would typically prevent the suspect from contacting the victim or going near them but could also impose positive obligations such as interventions to identify and treat any underlying mental health difficulty. Breach of these orders would carry a punishment of up to five years in jail.

The Government has indicated that it would seek to introduce new laws as soon as parliamentary time allows.

At Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Ltd our specialist family solicitors understand the impact of domestic abuse, harassment and stalking. We are able to offer practical advice in plain English in relation to the options available to you with appointments available at our offices in Hertford, Bishops Stortford and Enfield or nationally via telephone or Skype.

For more information on how our family solicitors can help you call us on 01992 558411 or alternatively complete our online enquiry form.