“In the end, what will hurt us the most is not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends” Martin Luther King

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Feeling utterly compelled to write today about the atrocities that go on in our family court system but more compelling than this is the silence of the bystander.  Since being a ‘victim’ of this outdated, archaic and barbaric process I have seen, spoken to and stood by many going through this process many of whom are being supported by www.iwmm.net  However over and over again I see people turn the other cheek, they don’t want to get involved, believe it is not happening or don’t want to make a stand or even support….until of course it happens to them!

This is something I would not wish on my worst enemy.  Your whole life is prodded into and scrutinised and then you have to deal with lies by the applicant party who is there to win at what ever cost.  This is what you are up against when dealing with a sociopath.  Someone with no conscience.  No loving or good parent should be separated from their child and certainly not through the use of perjury to a court for no good reason this is abuse in itself.   In cases where this happens then I’m ‘afraid’ to say (no.. I really am afraid – you are literally not allowed a voice) the courts are assisting in the abuse! Many families have suffered immensely because of this process.  I have consistently posted about this FACT that abusers use lies, fabricated stories to get their own way in court however no-one can highlight this as you are not allowed to talk about family court in the media….why?

Without transparency there is no scrutiny.

If you have something to hide then this is why you would need cases in secret.  Why are they hiding?   Has anyone asked this question?

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This could and would not happen in a criminal court as they are evidence led however in the secret family courts this is accepted.  Perjury is overlooked. As a law abiding citizen who was subjected to this hideousness  I know only too well that this can happen.   My whole life was turned upside down and I was guilty (without crime which is actually a breach of my Human Right to a fair trial under Article 8) until proven innocent and even then you are still never truly clear.  You feel tainted and disgusted that someone (with a criminal record themselves) can actually submit an application to a court and not one scrap of that statement was substantiated, a statement of utter lies and in addition to this the applicant is also not screened for criminal records ahead of making an application therefore you could be a serial killer, child abuser etc and apply to family court for a residency (Now Child Arrangement order) of a child without anyone checking your background…..WHAT!?  Are you being serious???!

Does this happen?….Yes it does and it goes further, often with the abuser GRANTED residency putting the child/ren at risk.  Yet isn’t the courts remit to put  the welfare of the child first?

In my case I had also not had any contact directly with the applicant for many years so the fact that he was submitting information giving the impression he knew about my life was utterly preposterous.

He is a stranger to me and will continue to be.

Luckily (if you could call it that) for me I have a very strong network of friends and family around me so I began rallying up support and getting everyone I know, friends, family, colleagues all of whom know me and my children well, to write into the court to express their utter disgust at what was happening.  For those who don’t know my story.  In a nutshell I was almost murdered, the psychopath who did this went straight to prison (clearly) and there were no safeguarding issues with myself or my children I am a very good mother and he was incarcerated immediately.  Yet as a victim of violence there is a huge amount of victim blaming.   Somehow this was looked upon as my fault…yes my fault.   I had clearly invited this violence into my life…what NONSENSE!

To prove the utterly unbelievable process of family court I was even summoned to court when still recovering from my 15 separate injuries; broken arm, cracked cheek bone, bleed on the brain, stab injuries to name ‘some’…I discharged myself thinking I would see my daughter, as I missed her terribly due to her being kept from me…only to find myself being victimised all over again by the Judge who did not do her job properly.  She didn’t even allow me to speak.  I’m disgusted I was treated like a second class citizen.  She is responsible for her part in my story.  Her actions catapulted a catastrophe.

Anyhow, my point is not to go over my story but to highlight AGAIN this continues to happen daily to good parents both mothers and fathers struggling to get access to their children because one parent wants control over the other.  No loving NORMAL parent chooses to be in a court room to sort out the lives of a little human.  With normal human beings we are able to communicate as adults and make arrangements without spite and bitterness.  We move on and continue our lives.  This is how it works with my sons father.  Normal communication; something the sociopath is incapable of.  To them its about winning.  Only about winning.  The child is irrelevant.  They may often present well and begin a smear campaign against the ‘victim’ to create the false impression of them being a bad parent.  Again to win.  Its inhumane that no-one picks this up.  It is all to easy just to kick the weakest person.

I came across this article recently and found it very interesting indeed, as a lot of what is said in it does happen A LOT.

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Abused parents are somehow blamed for the abuse and no-one ever questions why the abuser abused!

So heres the thing….if they stay in the relationship they are deemed as putting their children at risk so everyone bangs on saying “why didn’t she/he just leave” however if they do manage to break away safely and try to continue their lives abuse free.  The authorities force contact with an abuser via the children putting the ‘victim’ back in harms way, giving power AGAIN to the abuser as they feel they have ‘won’ and then the games start again but this time it is more insidious because children are being used as pawns.

How on earth can no-one else see how preposterously STUPID this is?

Should an abusive parent have access to a child?   How is that positive for the child?  Please tell me…I’d love to hear the counter argument.  No sane person would put a child in the care of an abuser….EVER!

I really don’t have all the answers (although I have a damn good idea if given the chance how to overhaul the whole system!) one thing I am sure of is I am pretty damn sure that nothing, will get better if we continue in this manner in fact lives are being ruined and generations lost due to the injustices served by our family judiciary.

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Please support us in our quest to make change at Charity IWMM or if you are a survivor looking for strength, validation, information or support sign up to our forum.

I have zero shame for what happened to me and I accept no victim blaming.  The focus for me is on the perpetrator’s.  They should hang their head’s in shame for their decisions.

Shame on you.

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Convicted Abusers in Sport – Is it right? Coventry’s finest Boxing Gym setting an example…

What is the world coming too when we celebrate abusers?!  Does anyone even give any consideration to the victims and the ongoing trauma this causes when these abusers are allowed a platform in the media.

I see time and time again on social media platforms people berating the politicians involved in abuse scandals, yet these are the same people paying to view boxing matches or attending football matches and supporting convicted abusers.  Double standards?  Yes, I think so!

Its high time the associations linked with these sports take some serious action in stamping this out in an industry where the ‘sportsman’ is celebrated and given a platform to victimise the victim over and over again.  Look at Ched Evans, a CONVICTED rapist yet he was able to berate his victim in the media.  She suffered further abuse as a result and he maintains his innocence – he was convicted in a court of law and the CPS have pretty strict procedures when putting together a case to go to trial.  They are spending public money so need to ensure they are not wasting time dragging charges through court that do not have a high chance of conviction.  The evidence was clearly there whether the Ched supporters like it or not.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Marcos Maidana - Weigh-In

Then we have Mayweather banning ‘female’ reporters to his circus…I mean show…..Two top female sports reporters said on Saturday Floyd Mayweather’s support team tried to block them from attending the boxer’s highly touted fight with Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas, prompting speculation that the alleged action was due to their reporting on his history of domestic violence against women.

Rachel Nichols of CNN and Michelle Beadle of ESPN said on Saturday that Mayweather’s team had blocked their press credentials and would not allow them into the arena for the Saturday night fight.

“No fight for me or [Beadle]. Mayweather’s team told my producer the camp was blocking my credential,” Nichols tweeted.

“I, along with [Nichols], have been banned from the MGM Grand Arena for the fight tonight by the Mayweather camp,” Beadle tweeted.

Is it right that these abusers are allowed the privilege of a magnitude of wealth which quite frankly is obscene when you think of all the poverty in world.  Mayweather has earned an enormous amount which runs into the hundreds of millions pounds giving him the feeling of being above the law, after all we always see money = power.

“Everything has been allegations. Nothing has been proven. So that’s life,” Mayweather said, when pressed about 2011 charges that he battered and tried to break the arm of an ex-girlfriend, Josie Harris. “Once again, no pictures, just hearsay and allegations.”

This is a typical abusers response; minimise and blame shift.  Its very unusual to have photos or evidence in domestic abuse situations because of the actual nature of the abuse.  There is a period of grooming before violence and often victims have already invested so much emotionally into the relationship before any violence is carried out.  They have also possibly been isolated, brain washed, made to feel they are the crazy one and victims are often so confused with their situation they do not even realise they are in an abusive situation until its too late.  And then trying to leave that relationship is a situation not to be taken lightly as this is the most dangerous and difficult time for a woman to leave.  The abusers tactics to maintain control escalate so having a planned escape route and support is crucial.

Mayweather pleaded guilty to domestic battery in a deal that spared him felony charges. He served two months of a three-month sentence.

Those allegations came in part from Mayweather’s son Zion, who was nine years old when the incident leading to the charges occurred. He told police: “He was punching her and kicking her. He was punching her in the head and he was stomping on her shoulder.”

If we are going to stamp out abuse then we need to stop celebrating these abusers and remove their platforms.  Violence against women by men is primarily a power and control issue where someone tries to control the other person or exert power over them through threats of violence or actual violence.    Some men have deep seated attitudes and beliefs towards women where they view them as inferior or feel it is their right to exert control.

This stems from a lack of respect for women and is a learned behaviour.    It stands to reason that if these men do not respect women, they need to hear from other men that violence against women is wrong;  men they respect need to help hold them accountable for their behavior.  More often than not women who do stand up to male abuse of women and speak out are called awful names and vilified as being man haters. This is not the case.

I had 2 abusers.  One a low functioning sociopath who used my children to exert control and the psychopath who hospitalised me.  Now if both of these abusers had good male role models, would this have happened?  I think not.

Learned behaviour and environment are very much to blame for the way we view the world.  If you have grown up believing women are somehow lower than men, or have lived with violence or even been abused yourself then you can see how this cycle of abuse goes on from generation to generation.  We need to learn respect and boundaries at a young age and carry this through to adulthood.  These tools are something many of these abusers were not taught by their parents and in fact they were allowed to do what ever they liked meaning they grew up thinking this is acceptable in any life situation and if they do not get their own way quickly turn into a petulant child, throwing tantrums and making demands.

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This in mind and with my impending trial for witness intimidation where I am having to take the stand yet again as the victim and witness I have enlisted the help of my good friend and therapist David Kilmurry DpHYP MBICCH SQHP to work on confidence and fitness on the run up and he has kindly introduced and enlisted the help of the finest Boxing Gym in Coventry Toe 2 Toe Academy who do NOT advocate bullying, intimidation or abuse of others.

The brilliant and loving father of two little girls Leighton Brady and the fantastic Mark O’Hagan a father of 3 of Toe 2 Toe gym have agreed to support me in their absolutely fantastic, one and only boxing gym in Coventry and we have began a fantastic training schedule.

Not only are they against the abuse of women but they that do not allow abusers through their door, in fact they have recently set up a campaign called TTT Stop Bullying to stamp out bullying in light of the sad events which lead Bradley Parkes in an attempt to take his own life.

I am buzzing with this new collaboration and look forward to putting in some positive steps to not only help me but to open this out to others who want to work on their confidence.

Things have to change and I am determined that I did not go through my process for nothing.  We want you all on board,  this will only happen when both men and women are working together for the sake of our next generation.

Lets continue sending out the message that violence is NEVER an option.

Peace & Love

Zoe

Founder of I want my mummy charity

Please donate through the IWMM page

Please support our campaign for a serial domestic abuse perpetrator register and order click here

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Sharing Intelligence across Local Authorities to protect the public purse against fraud

iStock_000012356987_smallerWe are now becoming more and more aware of shared services and partnership working between government agencies. However it is not the case when it comes to how intelligence is handled across  Local Authorities.  Working with other organisations and communities is an excellent way to pool resources, achieve efficiencies and provide levels of service that would not be achievable in isolation.

This is becoming more commonplace with cross agencies working together in partnership but why aren’t we using this methodology when it comes to intelligence in the prevention of fraud and protecting the public purse?

The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, said:

“Councils must cope with funding reductions of around 37% between 2010–11 and 2015–16.These cuts have not hit all local authorities equally, with reductions ranging between 5% and 40%”.

Further cuts could not just undermine the entire viability of most optional services, but might threaten some statutory services in these areas.

I conclude, there is an apparent need for quick efficiencies..  A bottom up collaborative approach is recommended as opposed to bottom line, budget cuts and reducing service approach.

So where do we start?  Let’s ask some questions; are the current processes working?  Do we share information, saving time and money? Who should we be sharing information with? Is this the most cost effective way of working?  As budgets are cut, let’s look to streamline and become more dynamic within our authorities.

There needs to be clear collaborative working.  The left arm needs to know what the right arm is doing – always!

Cuts are affecting how councils are working together but then so are the systems used to link those services together.

Looking at collaborative working,:  the most common reason of failureis usually lack of communication, and  lack ofsharing of information. The independent use of resources leads to a breakdown in communication or  short-sighted focus on ‘your own budget’. Power sharing can become an issue and often your eye is taken off the ball.

Using a system that links the authority as a whole entity means you have a common purpose.  With protecting the public purse at the top of all Local Authority agenda’s surely this the time for a common sense approach to implementing solutions.

Successful collaboration saves money and makes services more effective. However without strong common purpose, a commitment to a whole system view and sharing power, the barriers to collaboration are inevitably going to overwhelm and prevent the collaboration being successful.  So we need a clear approach.

Currently Local Authorities are procuring case management systems department by department or manually pulling together investigations.  For a holistic view of fraudulent activities across a region or within an authority these systems should link, talk to each other, share information and cross reference entities i.e. people,;

The strategic approach outlined in Fighting Fraud Locally provides a blueprint for a tougher response to tackle fraud. Local authorities need to review and evaluate their current response to all areas of fraud they face across housing tenancy, procurement, pay, pensions and recruitment; council tax; grant; and blue badge schemes and create a robust and effective defence.

One council forecast savings of £7m by using analytics to tackle council tax fraud.  Through joint working and sharing information Councils will identify more organised frauds which currently cross Council boundaries.

ABM’s charting tool Prochart reveals hidden links and associations by graphically depicting live data held in enterprise databases and revealing links and associations between incidents and networks

Study’s into identifying criminal activity show that patterns of behaviour are apparent, therefore this methodology can be applied to Local Authorities investigation processes.  By having the full, overarching solution Local Government can then look at the authority as a whole, by department, by region etc.  The reporting allows them to spot trends and be proactive with corrective actions.

ABMs Corporate Investigation Management abmintellicase™  increases the efficiency of investigations by improving the flow of information and facilitating collaborative working with other staff, departments and locations.

Within my role as consultant for ABM Software I am happy to guide you on best practive,  please call me on 07964 205955 or zoe.dronfield@abmsoftware.com if you would any assistance.

Grammy Awards get real about DV awareness with Katy Perry

I’m glad it’s being highlighted more and more. The reality is it goes on more than you care to realise. It has to stop!

Violence is never an option.

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Just before an amazing, yet controversial performance by Katy Perry, President Obama appeared on TV screens across America speaking out about the “It’s On Us” campaign and domestic violence prevention. As we were all viewing one of the most watched award shows of the year, the unexpected and powerful message appeared, bringing attention to violence against women and how it needs to end. Obama specifically wanted this message broadcasted during the Grammys because he said “Artists have a unique power to change minds and attitudes”.

Obama believes that music helps change our culture, and in order to change our culture we need to stop violence against women and children. After Obama’s message, survivor and activist Brooke Axtell shared her story on stage just before Katy Perry sang a moving song, “By the Grace of God”. Brooke powerfully urged domestic violence victims to get help by saying, “I want you to…

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Contradictions, Flexible Truth and Lies of a Narcissist …in mental domestic abuse

Absolutely right. The narcissist crazy making.

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When you are in an abusive relationship with a narcissist, you will wonder if you are losing your grip on reality. There are constant contradictions.  Reality is malleable to the narcissist.

Truth is what they decide it is. Truth is what they say it is. Truth and reality are constantly changing. They explain the fact to you as they want you to perceive them, in order to get what they want.

They will say one thing on Friday and then say the complete opposite thing on Sunday…

FRIDAY …They will complain that the house is messy and that you are not as good as other women about taking care of your “home.” Other women do it better. The house is deplorable and any “good” woman would be embarrassed if she was so lazy about keeping her home organized and clean.

Not only that..Here is the kicker ..they will say “If…

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Need for overhaul of Investigations Management culture in Local Authorities – Rotherham Child abuse

Internal Investigation and case management processes have a significant impact on reputations of organisations.

The recent damning Report of Inspection of the Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council exposes a culture of “complete denial” about the town’s child sexual exploitation scandal.

“It has exposed a number of potentially criminal matters” said Louise Casey of The National Crime Agency.  There has been consistent cover ups and silencing of whistle blowers. The inspection team reviewed about 7,000 documents, looked in detail at case files and met more than 200 people, including current and former staff, council members, partners, victims and parents.

According to the report, child abusers in Rotherham are identified but “little or no action is taken to stop or even disrupt their activities”.

Was this because their intelligence, investigation and case management process had fallen down internally?

Rotherham Council demonstrated a “resolute denial” of the child abuse that was taking place, the report found.

Ms Casey said the local authority was “repeatedly told” by its own youth service what was happening.  It chose, she said “not only to not act, but to close that service down.”

It seems there is a complete lack of investigations within the authority; intelligence not being recorded or links not made meaning multiple perpetrators not being brought to justice.

Organisations and authorities need secure corporate investigations management to ensure that incidents are recorded, for managing intelligence, recording incidents and running investigations.

They need to apply an approach that links information that can be shared securely to support collaborative working and support investigators, teams and departments to work in unity collating relevant intelligence to bring a case to court and obtain convictions, ultimately to have a picture of what is happening and have visibility of trends so action can be taken.

Initially we need a change in the culture and staff should be able to come forward we should invite whistle blowing as this information can be crucial intelligence.  Let’s start as we mean to go on and implement systems that will support the council as a whole.  No more broken down systems that do not support or share information.  Solution should work cross boundaries and support partnerships with multi-agencies.  A one stop shop covering all Investigation requirements from housing issues to benefit fraud to child abuse.

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At ABM Software we specialise in the development of intelligence and investigative software across law enforcement agencies, public sector and commercial organisations. We provide solutions to clients across the globe, including the United Kingdom, Australia, USA, Canada and Europe. Approximately 70% of UK Police Forces use our intelligence software and we provide the national intelligence system across Scotland, the Scottish Intelligence Database (SID).

Please call our consultant Zoe Dronfield on  +44 (0) 7964 205955 for more information around how we can support you in tightening up your current processes using abmintellicase™ our Corporate Investigation Management tool used by Law enforcement up and down the country.

New Domestic Violence Law carrying up to 5 Years

So we have a new domestic violence offence carrying up to 5 years.  How are we intending to manage this on the front line?

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, recently announced new powers allowing the police to prosecute those who are guilty of psychological and emotional abuse.

It means for the first time men (or women) who control their partners through threats or by restricting their personal or financial freedom, could face prison in the same way as those who are violent towards them.

The home secretary, Theresa May, announced on 18th December that a new domestic abuse offence of “coercive and controlling behaviour” is to be introduced, carrying a penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine.

May said that the new offence was needed because such behaviour in relationships could be “tantamount to torture”. The decision is a victory for campaigners who have long argued that domestic abuse is more than a series of episodes of physical violence by a partner or ex-partner.

But Refuge said the behaviour would be extremely difficult to prove, and police were not properly implementing the existing laws against serious physical violence.

This is a crucial point, one of which I would like to echo.  How are current front line staff meant to manage this process and also have the evidence required for court in order to secure a conviction?  There needs some serious consideration how this will be managed on a case by case basis.  Previous convictions and intelligence on the perpetrator need to be considered.   As it stands courts may not allow this information to be used or can dismiss it.

Why?  It IS relevant!

Perpetrators of Domestic Violence often coerce and use the same tactics time and time again, which is how we have a catalogue of the red flags highlighting possible abusive behaviours along with the cycle of an abusive pattern.  We need to take into account this repetition.

I would suggest that we need a National Charity to take the lead on this possibly Women’s Aid as they have access to all other Domestic Violence charities in the UK.  They should hold a database of perpetrator’s along with intelligence information, which provides all charities UK wide access to relevant information should it be required.  Local charities need the ability to search the database and use this information to put in relevant safeguards to protect victims.  Each and every time something is reported this needs recording.

2 women die each week at the hands of an ex or current partner.  I am pretty sure if we had access to intelligence this can be reduced.

We put a lot of onus on Front Line Law Enforcement however not only do they not have the resource as funding is regularly being  cut, they would need specialist training on DV across ALL front-line staff in addition victims often do not have any trust in the current system and would seek advice initially from a local charity helpline where they know advisers are specially trained and understanding.  You never know what response you will get from a 999 call.

So, doesn’t it make sense for DV Charities to take the lead on this?

This crucial intelligence information currently is not stored in a standard format across all police systems and officers decide on the information which sits on their system.  So it differs from force to force depending on who took the call or did the report.  There needs a blanket approach to Risk Assessments and as Domestic Violence charities have a in depth understanding of the intricacies of domestic abuse I feel they would be more suitable at documenting this abuse, don’t you?

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Sandra Horley, the chief executive of Refuge, said she did not believe that criminalising coercive control was the right solution. “We already have enough laws – the problem is that they are not being implemented properly,” she said. “The police don’t even arrest when there is evidence of serious physical violence, so how are police and juries ever going to understand complex concepts like coercive control?

“Controlling behaviour can be incredibly subtle, and isn’t always coercive. Extreme jealousy and possessiveness, for example, can be dressed up to look like care or concern. Providing evidence of such behaviours to satisfy criminal standards is likely to be extremely difficult.”

I understand Sandra’s point here but we need to start somewhere and the current laws only cover physical attacks and each individual report is dealt with separately so I welcome the new DV law.  Statistical research shows that there is often up to 30 incidents prior to the first report to the police and often there would not be sufficient evidence for a conviction.  Meaning the perpetrator walks away, leaving the victim vulnerable once again.

Often victims have already been brainwashed coerced or are too frightened to continue to contact the police of fear of antagonising a situation.  I believe a helpline and well run UK wide intelligence database would be far more reassuring to a victim than calling the police and worrying that information may not be kept confidential or handled in a sensitive way.  I’m pretty sure I would feel more at ease contacting a specialist.  This would massively take the pressure of our 999 operators as 1 in 5 of the current calls taken are DV connected.

Intelligence information also needs to be admissible in court to be used  as bad character in order to secure a conviction.  We know there is a cycle of this abuse and the likelihood of reoffending, therefore it makes absolute sense to me that this information should be available as it would be in a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS ) check with additional information for example should someone be applying for a position to work with Children.  Background checks are rigorously done and additional information is shared if relevant.

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Polly Neate, of Women’s Aid, strongly supported the new criminal offence, saying it was a significant step in protecting women experiencing domestic violence.

“We welcome the home secretary’s announcement that the government will criminalise the patterns of coercive, controlling and psychologically abusive behaviour which lie at the heart of the abuse so many women experience,” she said. “We hope this new law will lead to a real culture change, so that every woman experiencing control can get the support she needs to break free safely.”

The new offence will outlaw “sustained patterns of behaviour that stop short of serious physical violence, but amount to extreme psychological and emotional abuse,” the Home Office said. “Victims … can have every aspect of life controlled by their partner, often being subjected to daily intimidation and humiliation.”

This is a great move in the right direction.  Now let’s ensure the Case Management is efficient enough to secure the convictions or act as a big enough deterrent to eradicate domestic violence from our society.

We can do it with collaborative working across all agencies!

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