Supporting the true victims
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SUPPORT THE TRUE VICTIMS
I have a friend who was first stalked and harassed by an ex partner and then after a short jail sentence for this, attacked with a knife and maimed by him resulting in not only scarring but the loss of sight in one eye. The perpetrator is currently in prison having been sentenced to 10 years but may only serve no more than 6 – 8 years with ‘good behaviour’. To add insult to her injuries he may apparently be moved in the next two or three years to an open prison where privileges such as ‘days out’ are permitted.
As the so-called victim in a case, my friend was forced to endure a cross examination by her attacker who insisted on representing himself and although she was behind a screen, even having to hear his voice was an ordeal she should have been protected from.
The subsequent assistance from organisations such as Victim Liaison is minimal with scant contact, leaving her in fear of not being told if or when her attacker will be up for parole and therefore depriving her of enough time to make major life plans for when he is released from prison. The ongoing treatment for her eye makes it essential that she lives in the UK for as long as possible which complicates the timescale further. Meanwhile, it seems that her attacker is being afforded rights that are in place despite his crime being one of unprovoked and premeditated violence. My friend has not only lost the ability to see properly, but has lost the freedom to live in the country of her choice and will be forced to emigrate in order to feel safe. If the systems in place gave more appropriate support for victims of domestic violence my friend’s life would take absolute preference to that of her violent ex.
This is surely another form of ‘victim blaming’ in the sense that there is insufficient support in favour of the innocent party whose rights should be the primary consideration in these cases. This so called ‘support’ system should be reviewed in order to reflect the attitude that domestic violence is one that targets a vulnerable blameless victim.
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