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The work of women putting power back in the hands of those who have experienced domestic abuse has inspired a new project adopted by Police in Wythenshawe, Manchester.

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The work of women putting power back in the hands of those who have experienced domestic abuse has inspired a new project adopted by Police in Wythenshawe, Manchester.

The new project, which was inspired by the women of Barrow-In-Furness is being supported by Manchester Police Service and was instigated by Movement for Change. Working with Greater Manchester Police and the local community we aim to deliver a new approach for those who have suffered domestic abuse which puts power back into women’s hands. Currently we have an approach that sees power that was once held by the abuser simply being transferred to legal and public services not to the victim and their family. Through the empowerment of women we aim to see change on a national level as services adapt their practice to meet the needs of former victims who have found the confidence to speak up for what they need.

Women from Barrow told their story to over 300 people at Movement for Change’s national event last year, demonstrating the confidence they had gained from leading the project. The women had little experience of public life before embarking on the work. Their campaigning efforts which were supported by Movement for Change achieved remarkable results. They secured funding for a pilot scheme in local primary schools to teach children what a positive and healthy relationship looks like. The women were instrumental in negotiating with the Police and Crime Commissioner to secure this change. One campaign leader said, “I went from being controlled by my partner to being controlled by services. This is the first time I have been involved in making a solution”.

Luke Breakspear, Police Inspector in Wythenshawe, sees many similarities between Barrow and Wythenshawe and has been leading the efforts in Wythenshawe.

He said that he was compelled to start the project after meeting the women in Barrow, and that he felt that police needed to do things differently to tackle the domestic abuse.

One of the women pointed out that by the police attending any domestic incident and making decisions for the victim, we then become the coercive partner,” he said.

"Already the project has had a positive effect. We have volunteers who have stepped forward to agree with the philosophy that domestic abuse is totally unacceptable. I am a firm supporter of giving a voice to the most vulnerable and as such the project has my full support.”

In 2013 Greater Manchester Police dealt with over 13,000 cases of domestic violence, demonstrating the need for change across the region.

Luke added “We will hopefully have ‘safe spots’ up and running mid way through the year and this will be a massive achievement for the women involved. Not just because they will have set the locations and signposting up, but they will have raised their own aspirations and will have valuable experience which they can use for future endeavours.”

He also highlighted the importance how the police are changing as a result of the project: “As a statutory agency, along with others in a similar position we have powers to make arrests and ultimately adversely affect the home life balance. Those powers often put victims off from contacting us as they fear that we will take the place of any abuser by making decisions for the victim. So the purpose of this project is to reduce that fear by giving a non-statutory location to get advice as to what services are available and hopefully lead to a better uptake of services or at least victims who want to take positive steps to break away from abusers.”

Last year Greater Manchester reported that they are spending almost £300 million a year on domestic violence. This includes nearly £85 million on the NHS. Wythenshawe was also highlighted as one of the city’s domestic abuse hot spots.

Women inspire police to tackle domestic abuse differently

The work of women putting power back in the hands of those who have experienced domestic abuse has inspired a new project adopted by Police in Wythenshawe, Manchester.   Read More >


Brighton and Hove’s Home Sweet Home campaign celebrated this week as the fight to end the practice of ‘revenge eviction’ moved a step closer to becoming law.

Several amendments were added to the Deregulation Bill on the 11th of February in the House of Lords which, if agreed to be the House of Commons, will outlaw the practice of landlords evicting tenants for raising complaints with them.
 
Campaigning by groups across the country, including Home Sweet Home put the practice of revenge eviction under scrutiny in November last year when a Private Members Bill was defeated in the Commons by two Conservative MPs who fillibustered the bill.
 
This week, (11 Feb, 2015) Home Sweet Home was praised during the debate in the House of Lords for its work in highlighting the issue and campaigning to get local MPs to support the cause.
 
Whilst speaking about the need to protect tenants against revenge evictions, Baroness Hayter, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Office Spokesperson in the House of Lords said
 
This is a significant step forward for Home Sweet Home Brighton & Hove, and was welcomed by its campaign leaders.
 
Summer Dean, a campaign leader from Home Sweet Home said: 
“It’s great to have our work recognised - from the streets of Brighton all the way to Parliament. The pressure people put on Parliament back in November is now paying off as we celebrate the news this week that the House of Lords have put these amendments together to protect renters from unfair eviction. We called for MPs to show revenge eviction the door, and signed up local politicians to support our campaign. The next hurdle is getting it through the Commons before we run out of time, so once again the ball is in our local MPs' courts to step up and deliver the change thousands of their constituents want to see in Brighton and Hove. It just shows what a group of organised people can do when they turn their anger into action.”
As a local movement instigated by Movement for Change, Home Sweet Home have taken action to lobby MPs and organise against letting agents who have driven up the price of rent whilst not delivering accommodation that is up to a good standard. Most recently Home Sweet Home has taken aim at revenge evictions, where a landlord evicts a tenant for demanding something is fixed that needs to be fixed, or for daring to complain.

Home Sweet Home highlighted in Parliament win - a step closer to ending revenge eviction

Brighton and Hove’s Home Sweet Home campaign celebrated this week as the fight to end the practice of ‘revenge eviction’ moved a step closer to becoming law. Read More >

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Movement for Change work with people who might not think of themselves as leaders, who have stepped up into public life. We know that politics can be different - and better, and seek to to challenge 'politics as usual.'

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