Early intervention is seen as positive and desirable. The “Accredited work” is aimed primarily at high risk individuals and seeks to initiate and prolong the separation of children from their father.  In many cases, but not all,  individual Cafcass offices collude  in that process by insisting on work which the evidence insists is ineffective, for example the Ministry of Justice  report of 2014. p. 24 ,  Cafcass also funds some of that work essentially with tax-payers’ money.   Terry and David discuss this in a conversation linked here.  Just some of  what the judge said in an approved judgment 2019, is as follows:

“I reject the Cafcass risk assessment as being flawed for the following reasons. First, it assumed the mother’s allegations to be entirely true when there was no sufficient evidential basis for that. Secondly, the application of the ‘matrix’ in this case served to categorise both individual events and the general picture as more serious than they in fact were. Thirdly, there is no analysis as to whether the abuse was ‘situational’. I reject Cafcass’ general approach because the domestic abuse risk assessment has prevented an application of the welfare checklist.”

His further criticisms were these:

“It is my fear that general principles, perhaps a philosophy, has been applied by Cafcass to the case.”

“..there is to my mind nothing unique or even unusual about Cafcass’ stance in this case. At one point and probably more than one it is clear that the decisions were taken at a level higher than that of the officer.”

“I have several times referred to the widespread concerns held by judges here at the Central Family Court, as expressed to me as Designated Family Judge, concerning Cafcass’ current approach to these cases. I have referred to the meetings which I and other judges have held with Cafcass managers on the issues which arise in this case.”

For men who have to fund themselves the costs of a typical “accredited” “male power and control” programme were approximately £60-£80 per session, 2 – 2.5 hours per week,  for between 26 and 32 sessions, plus an initial interview which may cost several hundred pounds. Only about 25% of those men who started a DVIP course would complete the work.  Those that completed  may then get a report which said that in the report writer’s “professional opinion”  they still posed an unacceptable risk. Cafcass officers simply passed those opinions on.

In the interests of children:

Work with female abusers, which we also offer, is no less important than work with male abusers. The volumes may be different but that is about all. The work required by people is skills in “Emotional Regulation” – which  includes “anger management”.  You can read a bit about emotional regulation here. The vast majority of the relationships involved in these cases are  about “situational couple violence”. They are not about “Power and Control”.  The late Ellen Pence was the Duluth Guru. She recognised the mistakes they were making and stated them in 1999, right here.

Temper is a DVPP “equivalent” for those convicted of offences and a DAPP for those not convicted of an offence.

However you dress up the statistics Children, girls and boys, are the primary victims of domestic violence: they are the reason for child protection, for Cafcass and much of the work of the Family Courts. Their voices are rarely heard – hence the Voice of the Child.org.uk.

Sandra Horley of REFUGE  – the Times and Mail criticism is linked there. She quoted the statistic: “2 women per week are killed, on average, by a partner or former partner.” She ignored and virtually nobody will quote you (or even know!)  that at least 65 boys and girls are killed per year by a parent or parenting figure.  This makes a child in a domestic setting approximately 2.5 – 3 times more likely than a woman to be killed! How is it that we do not know this? Could it be the vested interest of certain politics?

Children are no less damaged by witnessing and experiencing women’s violence than they are by men’s violence. It could be argued that because children are relatively very much more engaged with women than with men, for mainly biological reasons, that work with the violent, aggressive and abusive woman is even more urgently needed than work with the man, who in many cases has very much less contact, particularly with very young children. But of course the woman, as very often a main carer of the children, needs to be as safe as possible, too.

Utterly amazing in very nearly 30 years virtually no progress has been made  in addressing female violence.  We believe that with the demise of the STOPP, a charity based in Leeds, which also worked with women in single sex groups, that we are the only organisation in the UK that has really made any progress in this direction. More than 120 of our more than 1300 completions have been by women.

The safety of children needs to be the primary focus in this type of work. That is why Temper Domestic Violence is and always has been gender inclusive in its work. This enables both men and women in heterosexual and gay and lesbian relationships the opportunity of taking part and bringing about changes in themselves and their behaviours which will improve the safety of their children, their partners, current and future and, of course, themselves.

The work undertaken needs to follow therapeutic practices  and consequently be open to all,  The “patriarchal power and control only” model obviously excludes women. The research evidence on which the above Facts and Statistics paper linked above is based very clearly indicates the uni-directional and the bi-directional nature of domestic violence, and this, of course, includes people in same sex relationships.

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