Fighting domestic violence

July 3rd, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Government has announced to combat . They include:

  • Establishing a Chief Victims Advisor to the Minister of Justice to advise on the needs and views of victims of crime, including domestic violence victims.
  • Testing an intensive case management service to provide specialist support for domestic violence victims at high risk of serious harm or death. 
  • Establishing a nationwide home safety service to help victims who want to leave a violent relationship. The service will offer practical support such as safety planning, strengthening doors and windows and installing alarms.
  • Reviewing the Domestic Violence Act 1995 to ensure it keeps victims safe and holds offenders to account.
  • Exploring the possibility of a conviction disclosure scheme, which may allow a person to be told whether their partner has a history of violence.
  • Trialling mobile safety alarms with GPS technology for victims, so they can notify Police of an emergency, and their location.
  • Introduce legislation to change the Sentencing Act, which will allow courts to stipulate GPS monitoring of high-risk domestic violence offenders who can’t currently have this condition imposed upon them.

I think the last one especially could make a real difference. What I would do is allow the person who has a protection order to be alerted (and the Police also) if a convicted offender who has a protection order gets within x hundred metres of their house.

The Government will also explore whether prosecutors should be able to invite the judge or jury to draw an adverse inference when a defendant refuses to give evidence in sexual violence cases. Current law only allows the defendant, the defendant’s lawyer or the Judge to comment on a defendant’s failure to give evidence.

I’m not in favour of having a different standard of rights for some criminal cases.

To remind us of how real domestic violence can be, former National MP Jackie Blue writes of her experiences:

Dr Blue’s experience began 31 years ago, when she was 27. She had just graduated and was working as a locum in Auckland surgeries.

She had had to repeat two years of her medical degree, partly because she had taken up bridge and was busy playing in tournaments.

“I felt I was the dumbest doctor in New Zealand,” she said. “I had low self-esteem, and I was probably overweight too, and I didn’t think I was attractive.”

She met a small business owner, nine years older, who “totally charmed me”.

“He made me feel quite special, put me on a pedestal,” she said. “I had never really had a long-term boyfriend at that stage. He was my boyfriend and I could say that, and he was reasonably presentable and reasonably sociable to the outside world, so you know, it was a good match.”

He gave her jewellery and other gifts. He moved into her home and gave her a blue sapphire engagement ring.

But his business was struggling.

“If anything, I supported him,” Dr Blue said. “I paid the groceries and things like that. He didn’t pay any rent.”

He took bridge lessons, but he didn’t like it and he made her stop playing too.

That is probably the first warning sign. It is very common for abusers to try and control their partner’s lifes, and only have them do activities they are involved with. Their aim is to make them dependent on you. People should bail out at this early stage, if their partner is controlling like that.

“So I moved away from the bridge circle of friends that I had,” she said. “His friends became my friends.”

Another classic sign, sadly.

After a few months they visited Napier to stay with Dr Blue’s sister and her husband, a doctor. “They had one of those really big old homes,” Dr Blue said. “They had a lot of antique furniture, really nice stuff, so the place looked really opulent.

“We were in bed on one of those evenings and I was talking, and he just bashed me on the side of the head for no reason. He clearly felt really threatened by the surroundings.”

It’s very sad what happened to Jackie (and many others). I also feel a bit sad for the guy that he is so threatened by success, that he resorts to violence to cover up his own inadequacies.

He started putting her down with comments like: “You’re fat and ugly and you’ll never have children.” 

This is also a very sad and common warning sign. Their aim is to make you feel you’ll never get anyone else, and so will tolerate them bashing you.

The breaking point was a barbecue where people asked Dr Blue about her job. “They were just asking about the work I did and they were quite interested, interested in me,” she said.

“On the way home we were driving into the carport, he picked a fight, I was driving, and he just bashed me on the side of my face quite a few times.

“I walked in and told him to clear out, bugger off. I phoned the police.”

He left. Police came promptly, but she decided not to lay charges. “I just wanted the whole thing finished.”

He tried to revive it, ringing her and sending flowers to the Herne Bay surgery where she had become a partner. But he got nowhere and eventually moved to Australia.

Just weeks after the relationship ended, Dr Blue met the man who is now her husband. 

A happy ending for Jackie, but many others end in death.

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9 Responses to “Fighting domestic violence”

  1. Rich Prick (1,668 comments) says:

    Domestic violence, like some other offending, is just that much more insidious because the offending is not fleeting in its duration and not reported as much as other offending. The emotional harm done by the entrapment in an environment where the threat that it can erupt at any time over any perceived slight is what makes it so awful.

    The harm can be incredible and some victims take years to recover, if ever. I think the GPS technology for victims (and tracking offenders) has the potential to be really empowering for victims. I think this is a significant step in dealing with domestic violence.

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  2. goldnkiwi (1,264 comments) says:

    Would Jackie Blue consider the proffered position? She would seem eminently qualified.

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  3. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Okay. Let’s get out the first aid kit, yet again, and apply more and more bandages.

    A GPS bandage now.

    When are we going to actually explore why we have so much domestic violence, and attempt to repair whatever it is that occurs in these situations that makes violence become the answer?

    Spend a couple of million on GPS units, if you must, but take another couple of million and spend it on actually finding out what is going so hopelessly wrong in today’s families and domestic relationships, that beating the living shit out of each other, has become a first response to stress.

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  4. Chuck Bird (4,835 comments) says:

    I have met Jackie Blue and her husband and would be very confident her that what she says is true and she is able to tell her story as it appears there were no children involved in her previous relationship.

    However, the reality is that men are as often the victims of physical and emotional abuse but if the police or courts are involved the man usually gets all the blame except where it is very obvious who is the aggressive one. When there are children are involved it is not that easy for a man to walk away.

    I hope any legislated is not knee jerk and sexist like the Domestic Violence Act 1995 that was initiated after a murder suicide where a man murdered their 3 children. Women nearly as often do the same but instead of legislating everyone ask what drove her to it? The implication being murdering her children was not totally her fault. There is no excuse for a man or a woman murdering their children.

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  5. G152 (280 comments) says:

    Does this also include nagging ?

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  6. freemark (564 comments) says:

    I noticed a comment a few days on LiPRent’s Blog alluding to it being somehow warranted as she is a Tory. Charming stuff.
    Perhaps we should pull all foreign aid for a couple of years – throw a bit of it on Social Workers so they can get amongst the Left legacy, sprinkle some more on Charter Schools that will definitely help, and whatever’s left goes on Prisons. All of the above providers on performance Contracts.

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  7. nasska (11,186 comments) says:

    We won’t see huge improvements until a rather large elephant in the room is noticed & dealt to. Intergenerational domestic violence may be the underlying cause but there exists a substantial subset of women who genuinely believe that “if he hits me he loves me”. They will deliberately provoke an assault to satisfy themselves that they matter to their partner.

    They are probably beyond hope but their attitudes are passed on to their sons & daughters to emulate.

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  8. mara (763 comments) says:

    Correct nasska. Some young women grow up believing that a man who says “I’ll kill any bloke who looks at you” is indicating signs of true love. As in, “If I can’t have you, nobody will.” I taught my daughter the things to look for to avoid such controlling men. More mothers should.

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  9. nasska (11,186 comments) says:

    mara

    When two people who see violence as normal get together not much unexpected happens….it’s cultural & considered a day to day part of living.

    It’s when someone who has been dragged up in a violent home joins with one from a normal loving background that things go off. They end up giving each other the wrong messages & as we see too often it results in battered partners.

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