Sanctioned for not being able to sign on on bank holiday Monday. Tears, frustration and rain.


The poor side of life

Today’s demo started rather hurriedly and to be honest I didn’t know if I was coming or going. This feeling was amplified because it was cold, rainy and my daughter was a bit fed up. understandable of course. But she soon settled down into our usual routine and all was well.

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We are seeing a lot of new faces due to Stalybridge Jobcentre shutting. They don’t know us and what we are doing, and we don’t know them or their situations either. So we have to start from scratch, which at times isn’t easy.  But it’s a whole lot harder for them.

I started a conversation with a man who had been previously attending Stalybridge Jobcentre for his appointments. The first thing that he said to me was that he couldn’t believe how rude the front desk staff are at  Ashton Jobcentre, and how rude some of the advisors are also…

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Thousands of domestic violence victims withdrawing from legal action after Government cuts, figures reveal | The Independent


More than 160,000 victims of domestic violence in England withdrew their support for charges against their abusers in 2016, a number that rocketed by almost 40 per cent compared with the previous 12 months, exclusive figures reveal.

The jump has fuelled concern that cuts to policing and specialist services for victims of domestic abuse are pushing vulnerable people back into dangerous and potentially deadly situations, while allowing perpetrators to escape justice.

At least 160,015 victims withdrew their support for charges in 2016 after police determined crimes had taken place, up from 116,885 in 2015, according to figures from 34 out of England’s 39 police forces.

Source: Thousands of domestic violence victims withdrawing from legal action after Government cuts, figures reveal | The Independent

Greek woman’s marriage to Muslim turned to ‘Nightmares in the Saudi Arabian desert’ | The Muslim Issue


It’s absolutely horrendous to hear that the German government is now funding courses helping Muslim men to groom themselves into relationships with German women. We cannot warn enough of this…

Source: Greek woman’s marriage to Muslim turned to ‘Nightmares in the Saudi Arabian desert’ | The Muslim Issue

Stigma About Mental Illness


GentleKindness

Stigma about mental illness keeps many people from seeking treatment. Out f fear of social isolation, discrimination and misunderstanding due to their invisible illness, people fear the diagnosis and the permanent label to be fixed upon them.

There are many kinds of mental illness that are very different from each other.

People that have had incidents of severe depression are obviously not a danger to others, but being labeled with “mental illness” means that the same stigma will apply to them as to everyone else with a history of mental illness.

A former soldier who has had PTSD in the past, still carries the “history of mental illness” red flag in his records.

You hear the phrase “has a history of mental illness” on the news when some psychopath kidnaps a child. You hear this same phrase when a psychpathic 17 year old guns down his fellow students in the…

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Bedroom tax discriminates against disabled children, say appeal court judges | DisabledGo News and Blog


The government’s “bedroom tax” discriminates unlawfully against disabled children, the court of appeal has ruled. The appeal court, which overturned a high court decision, was hearing the case of two disabled grandparents who care for their disabled grandson in an adapted three-bedroom bungalow in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The court also ruled that the bedroom tax – or the spare room subsidy removal (SRSR), as it is called by the government – discriminates against victims of domestic violence, after hearing the case of a woman whose home had been adapted to include a “panic room” to protect her from a violent ex-partner. The appeal court had heard that Paul and Susan Rutherford had been found to be “under-occupying” their home and had their housing benefit cut by 14 per cent, even though their 15-year-old grandson Warren, who lives with them, needs 24-hour care from at least two people at a time. Two paid care workers stay overnight in their bungalow at least twice a week, but the

Source: Bedroom tax discriminates against disabled children, say appeal court judges | DisabledGo News and Blog

The barbarity of Cameron and Duncan Smith, a threat to life and limb


Fear and Loathing in Great Britain

30_january_2016A letter a day to number 10. No 1,331

Saturday 30 January 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

I don’t know how much tax payers money Iain Duncan Smith will waste to appeal the court decision that found charging the bedroom tax on rooms that disabled children need for storage and somewhere for carers to sleep and for safe rooms for victims of domestic violence and abuse was discriminatory and illegal, but pursuing this travesty of justice is an appalling display of the most heartless brutality.

The two appeal cases were heard together by the appeal court. The Rutherford family have a profoundly disabled son who cannot walk, talk or feed himself and who, without their constant support, would have no hope of survival. If any child fits the criteria that you assured parliament on three occasions in 2013 would be exempt from the bedroom tax, it is Warren Rutherford. These were…

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At last, a domestic violence law that shines a light on coercive control | Kate Bailey | Opinion | The Guardian


The controlling behaviour of those who abuse their partners can take many forms – the courts and wider society should take note

Source: At last, a domestic violence law that shines a light on coercive control | Kate Bailey | Opinion | The Guardian

Stop telling us domestic violence is inevitable


Dr. Frances Ryan

Reading through Tuesday’s two damning reports into domestic violence and the police handling of it, that old adage comes to mind: the test of any civilised society is how it treats its vulnerable. It’s increasingly hard to deny that it’s not only the individual men who choose to abuse their wives, girlfriends, exes or relatives who are failing this test, but also the state services meant to protect their victims.

Almost three-quarters of police forces in England and Wales are letting down “vulnerable victims” – defined as children, disabled people and people subjected to repeat abuse – according to the police inspectorate. Of the 43 police forces in England and Wales, HMIC judged just 12 to be good and none to be outstanding at protecting vulnerable people. This is evidence of a widespread failure to assess or support the very victims who need it most, by the very people entrusted…

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I see domestic abuse everywhere – but people still don’t understand what it is


Original post from The Guardian

‘…………….By Kelly Mattison

As a domestic violence worker, many of the young women I work with have no idea they are experiencing abuse

Kelly Mattison teaches young women that it’s not their fault if their partner abuses them. Photograph: Eric Audras/Onoky/Corbis
Kelly Mattison teaches young women that it’s not their fault if their partner abuses them. Photograph: Eric Audras/Onoky/Corbis

My role

As an independent domestic violence worker, I have trained doctors and nurses in A&E departments across Greater Manchester in how to spot the signs of domestic violence, and worked one-to-one with patients in hospital with visible injuries. I am a trained to facilitate the freedom programme, a 12-week awareness-raising course on domestic violence. I deliver this programme to women of all ages who have experienced abuse. I also go to schools to teach girls about healthy and unhealthy relationship.

A typical day

I make a rough plan for my day, but know from experience that I cannot anticipate the issues that may come up. Last time I was in a school, I received a disclosure about child sexual exploitation. A young girl told me she was being labelled as “the biggest charge sheet going”. I had no idea what this meant so I asked her. “You know,” she said, “it’s the sheet the guy gets off the police when you’re underage.”

When I trained doctors and nurses in hospitals, each session was sidetracked with someone telling me about their own experience of domestic violence. One nurse told me she had been thrown down the stairs. Another was being threatened by her ex-partner each time she went to work. A session I delivered in a children’s centre was diverted by a 19-year-old girl telling me the level of domestic violence she had suffered was so high that the police had built a panic room in her house to protect her and her children from her ex-partner when he was released from prison. She said she still didn’t feel safe, so we spent the session going through safety planning techniques.

The issues affecting my work at the moment.

There isn’t enough awareness about the different types of domestic abuse and the various tactics perpetrators use. With some professionals I have come into contact with there is a fear of the phrase domestic violence, and a misunderstanding about what it is.

Many young people I work with have no idea that they are experiencing domestic violence, and so many young girls tell me the same kinds of stories again and again. If more education about domestic abuse was given in schools, then young girls wouldn’t be under such pressure, and they would not have to go through these debilitating anxieties about relationships by themselves.

The moment I’ll always remember

The time I was called to A&E to work with a woman who had been beaten so badly by her ex-partner and his friend that I could not make out her face. The first thing she said to me was “It’s my fault”. I spent the first part of our meeting convincing her that it was not in any way her fault.

What I love about what I do

I love teaching young people. It is satisfying to know that I am arming them with information about domestic abuse at a young age. It’s rewarding to see their confidence increase as they realise they can do what they want, when they want, that it’s not their fault if their partner calls them a “slag” or a “whore” and that they’re not fat, no matter what their partner says. Most importantly, it is satisfying to teach them that it’s okay to say “no” to their partners, and to anything, whenever they want.

One thing I wish I’d known when I started out

I wish I’d known that completing my freedom programme training would change my whole outlook on life. I see things differently now. I’m aware of every tactic – emotional abuse, physical abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse – and because of this I see it everywhere.

If there was an extra hour in the day …

I would call into more schools, and explain to headteachers what a difference it would make to girls’ lives if they put just a couple of hours a week aside to teach teenage girls about domestic abuse and the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy relationship. It would be so great to arm all girls with the knowledge that could protect them from abuse, rather than dealing with the aftermath.

Kelly Mattison is an independent domestic violence worker. You can follow her on Twitter @kellymattison7

If you would like to feature in our Day in the Life series, or know someone who would, email socialcare@theguardian.com   ………………’