While the overwhelming assumption is that domestic abuse victims are female, research from Mankind Initiative highlight some concerning statistics: For every three victims of domestic abuse in the UK, one will be male 13% of men (aged 16 – 59 years old) have suffered a form of domestic abuse since the age of 16 In 2017/18, 4.2% of men (approximately 695,000) experienced domestic abuse One in every five victims of forced marriage is a man In 2017/18, 7 men died at the hands of their partner or ex-partner Owing to regressive ideas of what abuse looks like, male victims of domestic abuse find it harder to access help. Nearly half of male victims fail to tell anyone they are a victim of domestic (only 51% tell anyone). They are nearly three times less likely to tell anyone than a female victim (49% as opposed to 19%). National Legal Service Solicitors has helped more than 3,000 victims of domestic abuse in the last year. We feel strongly that each victim should be seen as an individual and helped accordingly irrespective of their gender. Positive Steps Undertaken In September 2017, The Crown Prosecution Service published its first ever public statement recognising the needs and experiences of male victims of offences including rape, domestic abuse, harassment, stalking and child sexual abuse. The CPS statement covers Plans to give prosecutors more information, to help them better understand the experiences of male victims and the barriers to them reporting offences; A commitment to work with third sector organisations and campaign groups to challenge gender stereotypes and improve reporting; Proposals to involve more national men's groups, as well as groups working with boys and girls, in the scrutiny of CPS policies. Head of Family, Ms Kirsty Richards comments, Over the years I have assisted many male victims of domestic abuse and it is my experience that despite there being lots of positive campaigning around domestic abuse, there can remain a… [...]
If a local authority is involved with your family, you will have a social worker assigned to do direct work with you and your child/ren. There are a few levels of social work intervention such as children in need plans, child protection plans, PLO intervention and court proceedings.
When social workers have been working with a family for some time and/or if serious concerns are highlighted as to the safety of any child/ren in the family, the local authority can decide to invite parents to a Public Law Outline Meeting (PLO) or a pre-proceedings meeting. A PLO meeting tends to be the last opportunity to try to resolve matters by agreement prior to the issue of care proceedings. If care proceedings are issued, you are entitled to free legal advice – legal aid – and you should not delay in securing representation ahead of the first hearing date.
The main reason for the meeting is to discuss the concerns the local authority has in respect of the perceived safeguarding concerns for the children, this could be due to neglect, suspected abuse, domestic abuse in the parents’ relationship or a child/ren that is beyond parental control. The local authority will discuss what needs to change and they will explore if an agreement can be reached to prevent the commencement of court proceedings.
Parents are advised to instruct their own Solicitor who can then attend the PLO meeting with them. Together with the social worker and the Local Authority’s Solicitor, they can then try and reach an agreement as to how to keep their child safe and well.
If an agreement can be reached, the local authority will draw up a written agreement which will need to be signed by the parents. A PLO meeting may also be used to inform the parents that care proceedings are being commenced if they feel the risk of harm to the child is too high.
If you receive a letter inviting you to a PLO Meeting it is vital that you seek urgent legal advice. If you are a parent you will be entitled to legal aid and will have representation at that meeting for free. If you are not a parent but are the main carer for the child, you may still be eligible for free legal advice.