Connect with us

Global Affairs

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

Published

on

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

MEPs join EU citizens on farm-animal cage ban

Published

on

The European Parliament has lent political weight to an EU citizens’ petition to end farming of caged animals and force-feeding of ducks and geese to make fois gras pâté, putting pressure on the European Commission to table legislation. Forced-feeding was “cruel and unnecessary” and cages so small animals cannot stand or turn around were of “grave concern” MEPs said Thursday. Over 90 percent of EU-farmed rabbits are kept in cages.

Source link

Continue Reading

Global Affairs

Speculations Run Amok as Johnson Crashes ‘Awkward One-on-One’ Meeting Between Biden and Morrison

Published

on

World

Get short URL

The Australian prime minister held a meeting with the US president on the sidelines of the G7 summit in England, where the two agreed to work closely on “challenges” in the Indo-Pacific region, among other things.

Scott Morrison was hoping for a one-on-one meeting with US President Joe Biden at the G7 summit in the UK, however, event host, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson frustrated his plans by crashing their tête-à-tête.

The Australian prime minister was invited to this year’s G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall and was set to meet Biden in a bilateral setting.

When Morrison was asked why the supposed private meeting suddenly included a third party, the prime minister said “it was an opportunity that presented because we’re all here and so it was mutual”.

“We were particularly keen to have the discussion with both parties”, he added.

The incident has prompted great speculation as to why Morrison was unable to secure a bilateral meeting with the US president.

“This seemed to me like it was Boris Johnson stepping in what seemed like it might be a little awkward meeting, given Morrison’s full-on support for [former US President Donald] Trump”, Nikki Sava, a former adviser to ex-Australian Prime Minister John Howard, told ABC’s Insiders.

Many others ventured that Johnson’s decision to make the meeting trilateral was motivated by a willingness to make discussions about climate change productive.

Labour’s Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Penny Wong called the prime minister’s inability to secure a face-to-face meeting with Biden “disappointing”, and suggested Morrison’s “stubborn refusal” to commit to net zero emissions by 2050 was damaging the country’s reputation on the world stage.

“Mr Morrison’s stubborn refusal to sign up to net zero emissions has left him isolated and left Australia isolated”, she said on Sunday.

Ex-Liberal opposition leader John Hewson, in turn, alleged Biden might “not be prepared to extend Morrison the privilege [of a one-on-one] given his indefensible irresponsibility and stubbornness on climate”.

Greens leader Adam Bandt, for his part, thinks the only reason why Morrison was invited to the G7 summit is so the heads of states and governments can rebuke him over Australia’s perceived inaction on climate change.

“Climate is a critical issue at this G7. It is the only game in town. When they sit down to discuss climate, Scott Morrison will be sitting at the kids’ table and I think part of the reason he’s been invited to this summit is so the rest of the world can give Australia a dressing down on climate”, Bandt told ABC’s Insiders on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Morrison has since rejected those claims, arguing that climate change was not a point of discussion for the meeting and would instead be a topic of conversation at Monday’s G7 Plus sessions. 

Following the trilateral meeting, Biden, Morrison, and Johnson issued in a joint statement, revealing they had “discussed a number of issues of mutual concern, including the Indo-Pacific region”.

Morrison later downplayed any suggestion of a diplomatic snub, describing it as “a meeting of great friends and allies who share a view on the world”.

“Australia has no greater friends than the United States and the United Kingdom. It was a great opportunity for my first meeting with the president. I’ve known Boris for many years, and there was a very easy understanding amongst the three of us”.



Source link

Continue Reading

Global Affairs

EU relations: Berlin, Paris hoping Spain will stay close to EU’s French-German bloc | International

Published

on

France and Germany, considered the traditional axis of the European Union, are hoping that the Spanish government will remain a firm ally despite statements by Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya about seeking to diversify ties within the 27-country bloc.

In the space of just a few months, Spain has gone from embracing a G-3 of sorts with France and Germany to considering new alliances. These could include cooperation with Poland and Hungary in the battle to preserve European cohesion funds.

It makes sense to complement alliances with other states, but there is no substantial reason to justify walking away from the Franco-German axis

Ignacio Molina, senior analyst at the Elcano Royal Institute

Toward the end of former Foreign Minister Josep Borrell’s term in office, there were attempts at opening up to alternative alliances as Europe moved to a post-Brexit scenario. But it is González Laya’s first steps at the helm of the Foreign Ministry that have most clearly set the new tone.

Sources consulted by this newspaper played down this difference and instead highlighted Spain’s pro-European sentiment as a key to EU collaboration.

“It is normal for each country to seek out partners based on its own interests regarding a specific issue,” said a German diplomat. “This is not a big surprise, and you could also see it happening with Borrell. “The main thing, and there is no question about this, is that everyone should row in the same direction: for a Europe that is strong and shows solidarity.”

A French diplomatic source said that Spain remains a key player in the new European landscape that opened up when Britain left the club on January 31. “We cannot build a sovereign Europe without great involvement by Spain,” said this source. “France and Germany expect a lot from their main partners, particularly from Spain, in order to address Europe’s challenges.”

Everyone should row in the same direction: for a Europe that is strong and shows solidarity

Anonymous German diplomat

Since 1986, the year it joined the European club, Spain has stuck close to the French-German axis. “The only time we went our own way was in 2001, under [former Prime Minister] José María Aznar, and that was a strategic move prompted by the Iraq war,” notes Ignacio Molina, a senior analyst at Elcano Royal Institute. “It is not possible to distance yourself from the axis: [Hungarian PM Viktor] Orban can do it, the way that Aznar did, but everything in the EU goes through that core group.”

In early February, González Laya told this newspaper that she wished to cooperate with France and Germany on some policies, but not on all. “On other issues, the geometry will be a little bit different,” she said, citing a few countries from Eastern Europe that follow opposite policies from Spain on issues such as immigration or the rule of law. In spite of this, Spain could consider these countries allies on matters such as EU cohesion policy.

In her initial days in office, the new minister received Mediterranean colleagues first, notably Italy’s Luigi di Maio and Greece’s Nikos Dendias. But two sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said there is no particular state strategy behind the move. Instead, it is González Laya’s own take on the role that Spain should play within a bloc that has just lost its second-biggest economy, triggering a political reshuffle on the continent.

The minister will appear before Congress for the first time this coming Thursday, when she will discuss the main lines of her work as head of Spanish diplomacy.

González Laya was asked to come Berlin by Germany’s foreign minister, the social-democrat Heiko Maas, in the welcome letter he sent her following her appointment. While these letters are part of the protocol, they do not always include an invitation. No date has been set yet for the meeting.

This week, a lower-level bilateral meeting between Spain and France is taking place in Madrid, where the Spanish Secretary of State for European Affairs, Juan González-Barba, will meet with his French counterpart, Amélie de Montchalin. These two officials will also meet with a Portuguese representative to discuss electricity connections between their countries.

The Elcano analyst trusts that González Laya’s early remarks will not result in a more distant relationship between Spain, France and Germany. “It makes sense to complement alliances with other states, but there is no substantial reason to justify walking away from the Franco-German axis,” said Ignacio Molina.

English version by Susana Urra.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

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

You have Successfully Subscribed!