The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

More on DV

There has been a vigorous exchange of views on the Domestic Violence thread, some of them dismissive of whether the offence happened at all.
If police are called, either by one of the parties or as often happens by neighbours or even children, and they arrive to find a bruised and sobbing victim, a bit of broken furniture, and a couple of distraught kids, then an offence has almost certainly been committed. The PCs will take statements. If the victim later changes her (or rarely his) mind about giving evidence, that doesn't mean that no assault took place.
Magistrates have welcomed proper training on DV issues, but have resisted any suggestion of setting up specialist panels of JPs because there is only one standard of proof, and we should never convict someone because his behaviour seems to fit a sterotypical pattern; only evidence will do. Nevertheless it is right to recognise that in a typical abusive relationship the abuser will be a man, and that the woman has a great deal to lose by trying to do something about it. If she moves out she loses her home and possibly much of her income, kids may have to move away from schools and friends, and they might end up in some rat-hole of a battered women's refuge. Not simple is it?