Friday, May 17, 2019
New Labour claims to be ‘tackling domestic violence on every front’ (Home Office 2000)
In 1999, the goerning body published funding Without affright An co-ordinated Approach to reducing interior(prenominal) delirium, outlining their commitment to reducing the incidence of abandon against women and the strategy for accomplishing this.Safe living try-ons is a basic human need. As umteen women ar dependent upon a man for this necessity, the picking between un rubber lodgement or menageless(prenominal)ness is often unrealisable.The majority of gum elastic accommodation for women escaping angry relationships is provided by the voluntary sector with smallish support from the state. Safe admit is a crucial element for women going away violent associates.The need for both temporary and permanent secure accommodation for women and children who mystify left home because of violence must be paramount(Harwin and Brown 2000 p219)In this essay, I plan to review the history of safe lodging grooming for women in the UK and look at the influence of the Womens Aid drive, the role of local anaesthetic g all overnment activity and the influence of the worldly-minded governments. Then I will assess the welfare unavoidably of vulnerable women and children what housing support do women escaping violent relationships need? Do different companionable groups require different needs?Following that, apprehends focus upon domestic violence will be analysed and I will assess whether this vehemence has produced any real changes for women in terms of housing and homelessness.In term of housing, Dobash and Dobash (2000) developed four conditions down the stairs which an abused char is able to be safe1. Her male partner ceases his violence and lives peacefully2. The woman escapes to refuge where she sewer live free of violence, albeit lonesome(a)(prenominal) temporarily3. The man is successfully evicted from the matrimonial home, ashes away and does not harass her, or4. The woman is safely rehoused in an another(prenominal) home and is not pu rsued or harassed in her new location.(Dobash and Dobash 2000 p200)The Governments pledge represents significant statutory commitment to this turn out for the first time do beat backs promises reflect real change?Firstly, to look at the history of safe housing provision for women in the UK.Traditionally, it has been thought that the state ought not to interfere in family life domestic violence therefore raises questions about the position of the state in the private sphere of the family (Wasoff and Day 2000). even off relatively recently, the prevalence of this attitude can be identified. During the thirteen years of Conservative government during the mid-eighties and 90s, an emphasis was placed upon the important role played by the nuclear family unit and policy boost traditional family values and stigmatised groups much(prenominal) as single parents. Policy objectives of the time were directed at tackling the problem which tended to express a problem family orientation towa rds reducing recurrences of abuse of violence. Consequently, this approach underplayed policies aimed towards prevention or the enforcement of victims rights.The feminist refuge movement was established in the 1970s, previous to this there was no provision and women leaving a violent partner had to rely on the informal sector for support from family or friends. Domestic violence was not regarded as a sufficient case for homelessness and any in barf from statutory agencies such as the police or social service departments was geared towards reconciliation (Morley 2000).The womens refuge movement began with a few houses offering safety to women organised on self-help principles. Somerville (2000) notes the influence of the movement upon public perceptions of domestic violence that led to major changes in public policy.Consequently, there has been a huge amount of legislative change.This began with the Domestic Violence forge (1976) which allowed a woman to obtain a court smart set to excluded her violent partner from the home and the Housing ( interior(a)lessness) work out (1977) made it a duty for local administration to house women made homeless as a impression of domestic violence. However, whilst this was an enormous measuring forward, in reality women had a difficult time proving violence. collectable to the nature of domestic violence, there are rarely witnesses. The wording of the1977 Act was ambivalent and open to misinterpretation, less than half of refuge groups felt that it had change womens housing prospects (Morley 2000 p233), this was largely due to inconsistencies in legislative interpretation.Surveys such as Jayne Mooneys study into domestic violence in North London (1994) revealed high levels of domestic violence, this put pressure on the government to make more legislative changes. Changes in policing emphasised the immensity of protect the victim and taking strong positive action against the perpetrator. Similarly, social service de partments made an about face, recognising the importance of empowering mothers, rather than threatening them with the removal of their children.However, whilst the 1990s have been regarded as a period of significant study in terms of public awareness of domestic violence (Hague 1999), The Housing Act (1996) has been seen by around as a step backwards. This legislation removed the right of those defined as statutorily homeless to be housed permanently. Local authorities can only offer permanent accommodation to those registered on the council housing magnetic dip those escaping domestic violence are like a shot merely entitled to temporary accommodation. The legislation gave local authorities the power to refuse housing to any person believed to have suitable accommodation elsewhere, this oddly affects women from ethnic minority groups who could be assessed as having access to housing in another country (Harwin and Brown 2000). Obviously, this had consequences for many made home less as a result of violence.Section 180 of the 1996 Act made local dictum funding for refuges a duty. As a result, an average 37% of refuge income is received from this ascendent but has brought with it its own disadvantages. Womens Aid (2000a) note that some local authorities fail to comply or set conditions which undermine strategies for ensuring the safety of abused women and children as well as putting pressure upon refuges to only take local women.That aside, as mentioned earlier, the trend towards appropriate intervention and support for those escaping violent relationships has been upwards. A 1992 foundation Office Enquiry resulted in a co-ordinated national resolution and emphasised multi-agency co-operation. at that place are now over 300 refuges throughout the country offering a wide range of function with specializer provision for women and children from differing ethnic and cultural backgrounds.Before I move on to examining the role New Labour have played in terms of safe housing provision it is important to look at exactly what it is that is needed by women and children escaping violence from men.The Conservative governments introduction of the right to buy programme has resulted in scummy council housing stock and social renting has developed into a residual sector (Conway 2000). Local authority housing has increasingly catered for a smaller range of muckle marginalized from mainstream society. Combined with the fact that households headed by women are at a disadvantage as a whole in the UK this results in further social inequality for those escaping domestic violence.Women need good quality housing in a safe purlieu with a responsive housing management. Access to suitable housing would include? A sensitive response to all applicants? Day-to-day management support? Specialist support staff? Liaison with other service and agencies? Benefits advice/debt counselling(Adapted from Conway 2000 p102)McGee (2000 p91) identified three main areas of support wanted by women escaping domestic violence1. slow accessible information regarding sources of support.2. Counselling.3. Help for mothers in supporting the children to deal with their experiences.This final point is a in particular important one. Refuge financing does not take into account the numbers of children using refuges. There is no recognition of the existence of children, and the cost of providing for children, when there may be up to 18 children in a six-bedroom project (Womens Aid 2000a). Additionally to this, children are often extremely disturbed by the violence they have witnessed and the disruption in their lives, yet a quarter of all refuges have no funding for a specialist childrens worker.Women from minority groups can face increased difficulty when escaping a violent partner. Racism especially plays a large part in dissuading b escape women from taking action to address violence from a partner. The reputation of the police is a significant factor in t his. Mama (2000) notes that the police appear more ready to investigate cases of illegal immigration than to respond to cases of domestic violence. Despite attempts to challenge racism at bottom the police force, officers on the ground have lock up been found to perpetrate the abuse via racism. The belief that violence against women is part of the black culture is one that appears especially resistant (Mama 2000).In terms of housing it is overbearing for black women to be housed in an area which not only places her in an area away from the perpetrator but also ensures her safety from racism. Women, especially those with children, are more likely than men to be subordinate upon social housing for women from ethnic minority backgrounds this is even more so.The most crucial need of women, overwhelmingly in evidence, is that of safe permanent housing. The refuge movement has improved service provision for women considerably, but is expressage by their ability to solely provide tempo rary housing for women and children. Only by statutory provision can this need be met. This would necessitate significant statutory change. Women who continue to live with a violent partner often give their fear of being homeless as their reason for remaining (Mama 2000), a valid one as evidence suggests. If New Labour is committed to tackling domestic violence on every front this is the key area they need to be addressing. So, to evaluate the progress being made.Since coming to power, Labour have been keen to adopt a more progressive stance towards domestic violence than the Conservative rhetoric for supporting traditional families that arguably promoted male control over women.Publications such as Living Without Fear (1999) and the Break the Chain (1999) campaign were some of the platforms used by the Government to address this issue and win people to access help and support.Early evaluations of Labours policy response to domestic violence have been cautious in supporting the Gov ernments proposals. Hague (1999) acknowledges that both before and after election, Labour have been clear in their commitment to meliorate services for victims of domestic violence. However, she notes that there have been contradictions and lack of consistency in policy. Both Hague (1999) and Harwin and Barron (2000) draw charge to the fact that there are discrepancies between local authorities in terms of practice guidelines. There is no national policy to govern their practice and whilst many local authorities have accepted the serious nature of domestic violence, some less liberal authorities adopt a acrimonious view of the law, leaving many women and children in insecure and vulnerable positions in terms of housing.There is no single government office directly responsible for policy in this area it falls between the Home Office, the part of Environment and the Department of Health. A clear example of this is the research discussed later in this essay. This reiterates the fi ndings published by the Government in Tackling Domestic Violence (1998) which considered how local authorities dealt with domestic violence and partnerships with other agencies. Based on evidence from local authorities it discovered evidence of inadequate funding and noncomprehensive coverage (Wasoff and Dey 2000).In the publication Government Policy Around Domestic Violence, half-size attention is paying to housing and accommodation despite the actuality it is recognised as a key issue. The key point states the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions has worked with other Government agencies to commission research into accommodation and support services available to those pain domestic violence. Harwin and Barron (2000) assessed the research in terms of accommodation provision their key findings, published by the Home Office, include? Leaving the family home is a last resort and some would have stayed if security was improved? Good practice by local authorities needs to be examined and assessed? Problems with service provision still exists? Official figures on homelessness due to violence are inaccurate and underestimate the extent of the problem? In term of temporary accommodation, much is not appropriate for women with children and the length of stay in temporary accommodation is unacceptableThe paper concludes that monitoring of domestic violence need to be improved in terms of how many applicants for housing as a result of violence are rejected and support services need to be improved, particularly resettlement services.A key area only to be intercommunicate this year has been that of the Housing Act 1996 in relation to homelessness. Hague statedIf it the Housing Act 1996 remains on the statute book under Labour, it is a license for less liberally-minded authorities to adopt harsh measures.(Hague 1999 p144)With the Homelessness Act 2002, Labour has brought major changes to the statutory program of help for women who are homeless as a resul t of domestic violence (Delahay 2002). Whilst it makes no new environment for homelessness or housing allocation, the Act does contain some tangible revisions to the terms of the Housing Act 1996.Introduced is a new category of priority need for housing fora person who is vulnerable as a result of ceasing to occupy accommodation by reason of violence from another person or threats of violence from another person which are likely to be carried outHomelessness Act 2002 s10Additionally, the proposed Code of Good Practice emphasises the safety of the applicant and maintaining confidentiality. The need to prove violence has been repealed and it has been accepted that the contact of violence or threatened violence can be cumulative.The impact of this legislative change is undoable to evaluate at present but it does represent a significant shift towards supportive measures for those experiencing violence.The Government has placed a great deal of focus upon developing a co-ordinated respo nse towards domestic violence in terms of multi-agency partnerships.Our overall goals areto see effective multi-ageny partnerships operating throughout England and WalesLiving Without Fear (1999)Local authorities have been particularly responsive to these initiatives (Hague 1999)Examining the wider picture, increasing womens eligibility for housing will not have a real impact if this is not backed up by addressing the problem of residualisation. Labour is doing little to address this (Morley 2000) and could even be seen as exacerbating the issue by announcing in Autumn 2002 their role to grant housing association tenants the right to buy which will further deplete social housing stock.In conclusion, there have been huge improvements in terms of support for women experience violence in the home, much of this directly attributable to the work of Womens Aid and other feminist groups. The Governments commitment to addressing this issue can only be positive but the overall picture remai ns one of ambivalence and lack of consistency in policy implementation. Continued lack of funding appears to remain the key issue in terms of housing and is holding back comprehensive intervention.Domestic violence is about control over women, a sentiment that thrives within the larger system of patriarchy within our societyOur social order is antagonistic to the female gender. If domestic violence is about control, then our society enables mens control over women.As a whole, Labours policy has a tendency towards liberalism (with a small l), thereby neglecting policies that might encourage equality. It is important to acknowledge the increased prominence of domestic violence, however, fundamentally the Government falls short on its claim to be tackling domestic violence on every front.When a woman makes the important step of leaving an abusive relationship she faces a society that opposes her at every turn lower pay, little accessible childcare, and significantly inadequate housing no wonder the relationship begins to look attractive again.