Response to domestic violence article

By on 04/04/2014 in Blog, Cllr McKay

The following is a response to an item in today’s Birmingham Mail: “Our 'holy cows' are own worst enemies”
There is only one point that we can agree with Maureen Messent on in her recent article: domestic violence and battering is indeed a cowardly crime. The rest of the article features the age-old victim-blaming vitriol revealing nothing more than the author's ignorance about domestic violence.
In Birmingham, our services understand that living with domestic violence is living in intimate terror.

Abusers systematically use tactics which control, manipulate, degrade, threaten, isolate and harm their partners to such a degree that their confidence to end a relationship and their assurance that they will be safe is taken to rock bottom.

When abusers know that their partners are seeking help or planning to leave, we know that their emotional and physical abuse heightens dramatically. Victims also know that this is the time when they are at most risk, when they and their children are most likely to be killed or seriously harmed and sometimes keeping quiet is the safest choice that they feel they can make.

In Birmingham, our services are not complaining about the money wasted when victims return to a violent relationship. Instead, we are questioning ourselves about why victims don't trust us enough to keep them safe from violent, brutal, highly manipulative abusers.

We understand that we need to work hard and with the domestic violence services to undo the trauma of abuse which keeps women trapped. Understanding these barriers and not judging women and mothers trying their best to protect themselves is how we best serve domestic violence victims.

At the same time, we need to take swift and certain action against abusers and find the evidence to do so that doesn't always rely upon already traumatised victims to support that action. Doing this is how we will spend public money most wisely and most importantly keep women and children safe.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, you can call Birmingham and Solihull Women's Aid Helpline in confidence on 0808-800-0028.

In an emergency, please contact 999.

Cllr Jess Phillips - Victims' Champion for Birmingham
Cllr James McKay - Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City

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  1. Liz says:

    For what it’s worth, my response – So livid at this right now.