JUST Bulletin – 30/01/2012

National News – News from West Yorkshire –  Take Action –
Legal Aid cuts will put domestic violence victims at risk
One in Four crimes not investigated
Department of Education Findings


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Sultan Alam. Photo: Northern Echo

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Kirklees has some of the best and the worst schools in the country

Shortfall in Yorkshire health workers

Inequality gap in education in Kirklees revealed  

Number of Kirklees children physically abused increases as social service demand remains high

West Yorkshire Police seek watchdogs to keep an eye on custody  

More children in care as domestic violence soars in recession

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Legal aid cuts will put domestic violence victims at risk, report warns

A victim of domestic violence

Research conducted by Rights of Women and Welsh Women’s Aid suggests that nearly half of domestic violence victims will not be eligible under cuts in legal aid proposed by the Ministry of Justice.  Many victims of domestic violence will be unable to obtain legal help in future to help them escape from abusive relationships, according to a report by women’s groups.

The organisation is urging peers to support an amendment backed by Lady Scotland, Lady Butler-Sloss, the Lord Bishop of Leicester and Lord Blair that would set up a broader definition of domestic violence like that already used by the UK Border Agency to decide immigration applications.

Read More

  • 45% of women have experienced some form of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.1
  • Around 21% of girls, experience some form of child sexual abuse2
  • At least 80,000 women suffer rape every year.3
  • In a survey for Amnesty International, over 1 in 4 respondents thought a women was partially or totally responsible for being raped if she was wearing sexy or revealing clothing, and more than 1 in 5 held the same view if a woman had had many sexual partners.4
  • On average, two women a week in England and Wales are killed by a violent partner or ex-partner. This constitutes nearly 40% of all female homicide victims.5
  • 70% of incidents of domestic violence result in injury, (compared with 50% of incidents of acquaintance violence, 48% of stranger violence and 29% of mugging).6
  • Around 85% of forced marriage victims are women7
  • Domestic violence is estimated to cost victims, services and the state a total of around £23 billion a year.8


Police forces where one in four crimes is not investigated

Metropolitan Police
Avon and Somerset
West Yorkshire 

A review published on 25 January 2012 by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found a wide variation in the accuracy of recording crime statistics.  Officials found that some forces incorrectly recorded up to a quarter of all reports as ‘no crime’. These forces were the Metropolitan Police, Avon and Somerset, Leicestershire, Staffordshire and West Yorkshire. The best force was Thames Valley Police, where 100 per cent of ‘no crime’ decisions were appropriate.

For West Yorkshire Police the HMIC found that chief officer leadership on incident and crime data quality was neither clear, visible, nor recognised by staff. Police authority oversight in this area was partial.  There was particular concern around the recording of incidents of violence and ASB and only limited arrangements at a senior level to secure the quality of incident and crime data in West Yorkshire, with uncertain plans, policies and strategies. As a result, there were variable standards around recording crimes and incidents in a consistent and accurate manner (so they correctly reflect the sequence of events as described by victims). Staff’s skills and awareness of their responsibilities in this area were insufficiently established to help secure incident and crime data quality, and the audit and quality assurance processes in use to identify issues and take action were superficial.The review found that serious crimes such as muggings, burglaries and even rapes are being written off by police who wrongly record that no crime has taken place.  In some forces, up to one in four crimes is not being investigated properly because officers mistakenly choose to drop the inquiry.  Complaints of anti-social behaviour are being particularly badly handled with many crimes mislabelled as simply ‘nuisance’, a study has found. As a result, offences of harassment and disorder are taken out of equation, vanishing from official crime statistics with no hope of ever being solved.

Overall, officials discovered that most forces failed to record around one in ten crimes properly.   In cases of anti-social behaviour, only a ‘low number’ of crimes were recorded and police remain poor at identifying repeat and vulnerable victims.

The review examined whether crimes were recorded properly in the first place and if cases were later incorrectly written off under the category ‘no crime’.  An example of a ‘no crime’ would be when a person calls to report the theft of his wallet but later finds that it had been misplaced by a family member.

The survey looked at almost 5,000 records from 43 forces in England and Wales and the British Transport Police.  Fears have been raised that police may be tempted to record disputed incidents as ‘no crime’ to improve their statistics or simply because they are too hard to solve.

MP Priti Patel said it was ‘dreadful’ that police wrote off the most serious of crimes.  She said: ‘The fact that police are prepared to write off serious crimes almost needs to be investigated itself – it is dreadful. How can they justify this to victims of crime?’Clearly there are police forces out there failing in their duty to protect the public and give support to victims to protect them. They need to learn from those doing the right thing.’

Vic Towell, of HMIC, said: ‘These results show that forces understand the importance of making correct “no crime” decisions, particularly for the more serious crime types. While the majority do well, the variation between the best and worst remains too wide and needs to improve.’

Two years ago the head of HMIC, Sir Denis O’Connor, warned that police are failing to get to grips with a tidal wave of anti-social behaviour.  He said the true number of loutish incidents could be twice as high as the 3.6million estimated by the Government.  The problem was highlighted by the death of Miss Pilkington, who killed herself and her disabled daughter after being tormented by thugs. Police were heavily criticised after it emerged she made 33 calls for help before setting fire to her car in a layby near her Leicestershire home in 2007.  The murder of Mr Newlove, who was kicked to death after confronting teenagers outside his Warrington home in 2007, also showed the terrible toll of yobbery.

Findings by the Department of Education

  • More than 100 secondary schools in England face being closed and re-opened as academies for failing government targets, official data reveals.
  • in 55 schools – not including special schools – fewer than 10% of pupils achieved five A* to C grades at GCSE, including English and maths.
  • Teenagers in care and those on free school meals are about half as likely as their peers to achieve five good grades at GCSE.
  • In more than 1,700 schools, a maximum of 10% of pupils take a combination of traditional subjects that includes English, maths, two sciences, a language and a humanity.
  • Just 34% of those in care or on free school meals achieve five good GCSE passes, including English and maths, compared with 58% for all pupils in state schools.
  • In 339 schools, less than a fifth of these disadvantaged pupils achieve five good grades, including English and maths. Just one in 25 pupils achieves a C or higher in a combination of English, maths, two sciences, a foreign language and a humanity.
  • In 524 schools, at least 50% of pupils who had been considered to be low-achieving at their primary schools managed to gain five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C, including English and maths.
  • The school with the best record in this respect is Tauheedul Islam girls’ high school in Blackburn, where 69% of pupils with low prior achievement at primary school achieved five or more good grades at GCSE.
  • The highest-performing comprehensive at GCSE was Thomas Telford school in Shropshire. Some 98% of its pupils achieved five or more A* to C grades including English and maths. The school outperformed several academically selective and private schools.
  • On average, 58.2% of pupils in state schools achieved five or more A* to C grades including English and maths.
  • Colchester Royal grammar school in Essex had the highest average points score per student at A-level – 1,477.1 points – and Broadgreen International school in Liverpool improved its A-level score by 161% between 2008 and 2011.
  • In 125 schools – not including special schools – no pupil was entered for either history or geography. Ninety-four of these schools were fee-paying. In 77 schools, no pupil was entered for a language GCSE.
  • Almost half – 45.6% – of pupils who were at the level expected of them in primary school failed to achieve five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C including English and maths.
  • The tables also show the average state secondary school spends £5,712 per pupil, but 30 state schools spend more than £10,000 per pupil. In state schools where over 90% of pupils achieve five or more grades at A* to C at GCSE, including English and maths, average spend is £5,096 per pupil.

School is boring and irrelevant, say teenagers

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