We need to be diligent in helping
It seems that the verdict of the Blackpool Magistrates Court in sentencing an ex-soldier to a 20-week jail term was perverse; given the description of violence inflicted on his partner (Gazette, December 30).
The question that must be addressed, however, is the issue over the CPS, who chose to charge the defendant to the lesser section of common assault, rather than the more serious charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. This would have seemed appropriate given the facts outlined in the Gazette. It would also have allowed for more appropriate research to be conducted on this man’s serial offending.
I was alarmed to read that the assault occurred when her partner was serving a prison sentence suspended for a previous assault against her with this assault being the third.
As a retired Probation Officer I remember the work that came about through Home Office research in the 90s into the causes of domestic violence that led to murder. It signalled a change of direction for the police, Social Services/Probation and the courts. Anger management courses were designed to help the perpetrators address their offending. More supervision and risk assessments were undertaken, therefore containing the risk of repeat offending.
Sadly, in this case, with such a short sentence, no work will be done with the offender to address his behaviour long term.
We are reminded of the Office for National Statistics figures, estimating 1.4 million women and 700,000 men have suffered domestic abuse in the past year. While this may be a reduction over recent years it still represents a dangerously high statistic. We do not want domestic violence to be treated lightly again. This case highlights all the dangers and should signal more diligence when dealing with domestic violence.
Join together to solve the problem
We are, I am sure, all feeling huge sympathy for the recent victims of floods. It should be yet another wake-up call that we have to do our bit in our efforts to avert even worse climate change.
Austerity cuts have no place when it comes to saving our planet or to saving our communities and infrastructure.
It is pointless pleading that we have spent more on flood defences this year when we know that spending on flood defences was cut by 30 per cent after 2010/11 and many planned projects have been cancelled or delayed.
These are serious problems which need to be addressed by everyone pulling together.
Past mistakes must be admitted and the best brains on all sides must be harnessed and given the money to make a difference.
Wake-up call for
The devastation caused by the floods should be a wake-up call for the Government and environmental agency to get a grip.
They continue to allow housing to be built on known flood plains and do not practice good housekeeping such as the dredging of rivers and the clearing of drains.
In the last floods in the south of England, a farmer stated that dredging was ceased on the part of the river that broke its banks 26 years before and the pumping station that pumped the water out when it reached a certain level mothballed a few years later.
This is negligence on a grand scale.
As a child, the gentleman clearing the drains was a regular sight, as was the dredger on the canal near my home, this may not prevent all flooding but it’s a good start.
Help others have a happy new year
Back in November, I helped launch an NHS campaign to get more people talking about organ donation and signing up to the NHS Organ Donor Register. I was filmed for 14 hours to highlight how frustrating it is waiting on the transplant list. It’s six weeks later, another Christmas gone, and I’m still waiting for a kidney. And I am not alone, thousands of people are waiting for a transplant in the UK.
I’ve spent six Christmases in a row waiting on dialysis, and a seventh back before my first failed transplant. Seven out of 41 years. Another Christmas of hitting the wall part way through the day and having to stop and sleep. Another Christmas of taking myself away from my family to dialyse, four times on Christmas Day, four times on Boxing Day, four times every day. Another Christmas of having to watch what I eat; and drink only one litre of fluid a day.
Clearly, my hope is that this was my last Christmas on dialysis; that next year I’ll have a working transplant and boundless energy to play with my growing kids.
I also hope that this is the last year in which 40 per cent of families say no to donation taking place when their relative could become a donor. We could save so many more lives if families said yes to donation.
So this New Year, how about making a resolution to talk about organ donation? In the cosy post-Christmas glow, take a moment to turn to your loved one and say ‘If something happens to me, please let me donate’. Try out your shiny new tablet or phone and point it to www.organdonation.nhs.uk and sign the register. Give the ultimate gift.