Connect with us

Global Affairs

Coercive behaviour must be prioritised in domestic abuse cases, court of appeal says | Global development

Voice Of EU



The family courts should prioritise the issue of coercive and controlling behaviour when considering disputes between parents in domestic abuse cases, court of appeal judges have advised.

Three senior judges set out fresh guidance on how these sensitive cases should be approached as part of a 47-page judgment after hearing four linked appeals brought by mothers over child contact.

Three of the four appeals, each involving allegations of coercive control and partner rape, were granted.

The ruling by Sir Andrew McFarlane, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Holroyde states courts should “prioritise consideration of whether a pattern of coercive and/or controlling behaviour is established over and above the determination of any specific factual allegations”.

It highlighted that abuse does not always end when a relationship does and that, even with an injunction in place, subtle forms of abuse can persist.

The judges said regarding coercive incidents that occurred between adults when they were in a close relationship as being “in the past”, and therefore without relevance when assessing risk of harm in future, should be considered “old fashioned and no longer acceptable”.

Charlotte Proudman, a barrister who represented two of the mothers, welcomed the guidance but said there were some gaps.

“It was disappointing that judges shied away from clarifying how the family court should deal with rape cases, including the prevalence of rape stereotypes and myths.

“We are told the criminal definition of rape should not be used in the family courts but I’m left really unclear on what definition should be used instead. I’ve seen judges use terms such as ‘partial rape’ or ‘unwelcome sexual intercourse’ but what do these descriptions mean?”

The family courts received 55,253 private law applications in the last year from parents seeking resolution of child contact disputes.

Domestic abuse allegations are present in at least 40% of these, about 22,000 a year.

Despite the high caseload, the need to identify and determine issues of domestic abuse is “rightly afforded a high level of importance” said the ruling.

A family court judge who fails to consider coercive control where it is relevant may be held on appeal to have “fallen into error”, the judgment stated.

Victims’ groups refuted the assertion that a “modern approach” to domestic abuse is already embedded in training and understood by most family court judges.

Concerns around the perpetuation of “rape myths” and a “pro-contact culture”, as described in the Ministry of Justice harm report, were raised by charities making representations to the January hearing.

Lucy Hadley of Women’s Aid Federation of England said: “We hear daily from survivors who tell us abusers use the family courts and child contact arrangements as weapons to continue control after they’ve escaped. We welcome the conclusion family judges must do more to investigate patterns of coercive and controlling behaviour and examine what harm this has upon a child.

“But we are severely disappointed the court of appeal did not call for an end to the ‘contact at all costs’ approach, which is putting women and children experiencing domestic abuse in danger. We fear this judgment has not recognised the urgent need for wholesale reform to make the family courts safe for survivors.”

Katie Russell, of Rape Crisis England & Wales, said she was disappointed that the ruling “declined to tackle the significant problems of victim-blaming, rape myths, lack of understanding of the law on sexual consent from family court judges, and the overall minimisation and dismissal of sexual violence and abuse in the family courts”.

The three cases successfully appealed will now be heard in front of a different judge.

They included the case of a mother who challenged an order about child contact by Judge Richard Scarratt who threatened to take her child into care.

The judgment stated: “It is hard to imagine a more serious and frightening prospect for any mother, let alone a young, single mother, than that of having her child taken off her and placed for adoption.”

The judges said the family courts are in a “continuing process aimed at developing and improving”.

Source link

Global Affairs

Brexit: British Embassy launches survey on key issues affecting UK nationals in Spain | Brexit | International

Voice Of EU



The British Embassy in Madrid has launched a survey aimed at finding out how UK nationals in Spain have been affected by key issues, in particular, the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, a process commonly known as Brexit.

The poll is for Britons who are full-time residents in Spain (not those with second homes) and are covered by the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, i.e. they were officially registered in the country before December 31, 2020, when the so-called Transition Period came to an end.

Questions in the survey address issues such as access to healthcare and the uptake of the TIE residency cards, which were introduced as a replacement for green residency cards (either the credit-card size or the A4 sheet version, officially known as the Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión).

As we approach a year since the end of the Transition Period, we really want to hear from you about the key issues…

Posted by Brits in Spain on Friday, September 17, 2021

The aim of the poll is to gather vital information on the experience of UK nationals living in Spain that will help the British Embassy provide feedback to Spanish authorities. The survey takes around 10 minutes to complete, and all answers are confidential.

Have you heard our Spanish news podcast ¿Qué? Each week we try to explain the curious, the under-reported and sometimes simply bizarre news stories that are often in the headlines in Spain.

Source link

Continue Reading

Global Affairs

‘The challenge for us now is drought, not war’: livelihoods of millions of Afghans at risk | Global development

Voice Of EU



The war in Afghanistan might be over but farmers in Kandahar’s Arghandab valley face a new enemy: drought.

It has hardly rained for two years, a drought so severe that some farmers are questioning how much longer they can live off the land.

Mohammed Rahim, 30, grew up working on a farm along with his father and grandfather in the Arghandab district of Afghanistan’s southern province. Famous for its fruit and vegetables, the area is known as the bread basket of Kandahar.

Like most in the valley, Rahim’s family relies solely on farming. “The fighting has just stopped. Peace has returned,” Rahim says. “But now we face another war: drought.

“Now we have to dig deep to pump water out of the land. It has been two years, there has been little rain and we have a drought here. I don’t know if our coming generations can rely on farming the way our ancestors used to do.”

Pir Mohammed, 60, has been a farmer for more than four decades. “Not long ago, there were water channels flowing into the farm and we were providing the remaining water to other farmers,” says Mohammed. “Before, the water was running after us, flowing everywhere – but now we are running after water.”

The water used to come free from the river but now the daily diesel cost for the water pump is at least 2,500 Afghani (£21).

“We don’t make any profit. We are in loss, rather. Instead, we are using our savings. But we don’t have any other option as we do it for survival,” says Mohammed. “However, the scarcity of water has affected the quality of crops as well.”

About 70% of Afghans live in rural areas and are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of drought.

Last week, Rein Paulsen, director of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Office of Emergencies and Resilience, said severe drought was affecting 7.3 million people in 25 of the country’s 34 provinces.

He warned: “If agriculture collapses further, it will drive up malnutrition, increase displacement and worsen the humanitarian situation.”

Arghandab has been a favourite destination for farming because of the abundance of water and fertile lands. Neikh Mohammed, 40, left the Dand district of Kandahar to work in Arghandab in 2005. When he arrived he was amazed to see the greenery and pomegranate farms.

A dam affected by drought in Kandahar.
A dried up dam in Kandahar. A majority of Afghans are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of drought, as they live in rural areas. Photograph: Xinhua/Rex/Shutterstock

“It used to rain a lot here and we could not cross the river and come into our farms. We had a life with abundant water. But the past is another country now,” he says.

According to a report by the UN mission in Afghanistan, many local farmers were caught in the crossfire between the Taliban and the Afghan security forces. The Taliban carried out attacks from thick foliage on the farms, which provided a hiding place, ideal for an ambush.

“For the past 20 years, we did not have peace and could not work after dark in our farms. But now we can stay as long as we want without any fear,” says Neikh Mohammed. “Now the challenge is not just restoring peace but the drought and escalating cost of essential commodities.”

Farmers say they want support from international aid agencies and assistance from the new government headed by the Taliban to help them survive.

Pir Mohammed says: “The real challenge for us now is drought, not war. We need food, water, dams and infrastructure in our country. The world should invest in us and save us.”

Source link

Continue Reading

Global Affairs

[Ticker] US to lift Covid travel-ban on EU tourists

Voice Of EU



Fully vaccinated travellers from the EU and the UK will be let back into the US from “early November” onward, the White House said on Monday, ending an 18-month ban and prompting airline firms’ shares to climb. “This new international travel system follows the science to keep Americans … safe,” a US spokesman said. The EU recently recommended increased restrictions on US visitors, amid anger at lack of US reciprocity.

Source link

Continue Reading


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!