Solicitors in Milton Keynes - Family Law, Motoring Law, Domestic Violence

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BEWARE THE RISK OF RE-VICTIMISING THE VICTIM OF DOMESTIC ABUSE

In care proceedings, when considering Risk Assessments, as well as looking at situational factors (such as recent separation, an on-going dispute about child contact or ‘community issues’), Local Authorities are also obliged to consider the subject’s drug and alcohol abuse, as well as any mental health issues. Obvious factors such as a conviction for child abuse or the child alleging this, makes an assessment of risk easier. Also research has shown that pregnancy may increase the incidence of risk, even where there has not been previous abuse. Risk Assessments however are often complicated by the more subtle dynamics of ‘coercive control’, where this is either not recognised, or not reported by the victim. The most obvious risk indicators are sexual assault, physical violence, threats of violence,  and stalking. These may be proved by convictions or credible accounts from the victim. Perpetrators often complain that a victim has overestimated risk of harm. Curiously however, the victim’s perception of risk is often underestimated because of the process of ‘normalisation’ or indeed fear.  Sometimes (too often actually), victims are criticised for this. Such cases are examples of how the system can unwittingly  ‘re-victimise’ survivors of domestic abuse.

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