A victim of domestic violence? Don’t worry you will get sanctioned too. 

Today at our demonstration I was approached by a young woman who had a baby with her. She was clearly distressed and she had a very sore black eye. I asked her what was wrong, she was quite literally a bag of nerves. She went on to tell me that she had just escaped from the clutches of her very violent boyfriend. The police had to rescue her from her home. She left with her baby, his clothes and the pram. She was shaking. She is now staying at the local women’s refuge, a haven for women escaping violence. 

She should be able to recover now, you would think. No she couldn’t . She went on to explain that she had previously been attending a Jobcentre in another town, and was supposed to attend an interview at that Jobcentre. She couldn’t attend. Why? Because it’s the town where her ex partner lives and she has to keep away due to the risk of violence to her and her baby. She did the right thing and phoned the Jobcentre up, and they agreed on the phone that she didn’t have to attend… But they stopped her money.

 She phoned the DWP up on their expensive number and they informed her that she was sanctioned because she didn’t attend. So that is why she was at this Jobcentre today. She wanted advice, I gave her some advice and a leaflet and she went inside the Jobcentre. This is shocking. The poor woman has gone through hell and back and is now paying the price for escaping. I hope that she is ok and manages to heal. 

This made me feel sick to the bone. I had to walk away for a minute to compose myself. I really want to stop this. One day perhaps I will get the chance.

A man that I speak to on occasion walked over to me and started chatting. He’s homeless and has problems, but he’s a nice bloke and I always take the time to speak to him. Addiction is an illness and should be treated as such. He was a bit angry today. Our local council has cut their funding to the homeless organisation in our town, amd in a small town nearby. I had heard word of this last week, so was prepared. He was upset, he couldn’t understand why they would do this. I agreed I said neither do I. He said there’s nothing more important to him and what would he do now? I told him that I would do my best to help. If I ever get elected this would be my ultimate priority.

 There are no real homeless shelters in Tameside. There’s a few drop ins and foodbanks but nothing at all to give them a bed for the night. They have to travel to manchester to get help, and that’s not easy. My local authority doesn’t have any duty of care towards the homeless and neither do they recognise the real level of homelessness in the area. I’m sure they really know but don’t like to admit it.  

Another man walked over to me. Now he was angry. He was told to use a computer, but physically couldn’t do it. The DWP had put him on a course for a day but he still couldn’t do it. We gave him the appropriate advice, and he went in for his appointment. A little while later he came out. The Jobcentre had offered him a job for £2.47 a hour. Way below the legal wage. He’s forced to do this, if he doesn’t then his money will get stopped. Workfare is wrong and that’s another issues that I want to stop. 

Many thanks to Boycott Workfare for all their hard work on this. 

This has left me feeling rather drained. I just don’t understand why those in power want this suffering. It hurts my heart to see people in pain like this. One day I might be able to change this. If I get elected I will do. And that’s a promise. If I don’t get elected I will also do my very best. I want change for the people in our country. Today is ST George’s day but I don’t feel like celebrating. The country that I love is hidden away, lost behind the darkness. But I will find it and bring it back to life. 

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13 thoughts on “A victim of domestic violence? Don’t worry you will get sanctioned too. 

  1. This is horrendous, those in power need to open their eyes to the suffering they’re causing but they won’t. Having been in a similar situation to the young mum I feel both sad and incredibly proud of her. Sad because she’s having to deal with a harsh regime that this joke of a government have in place and proud that she managed to get out of the hell she was in.

    I shall be reblogging this on my own blog. Keep up the good work!

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  2. The JSA DV Easement
    From 23 April 2012, DWP introduced a specific easement from job seeking conditions
    for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimants who are victims of actual or threatened DV.
    This means an exemption from job seeking conditions and requirements to be actively
    looking for employment for an initial four-week period providing certain conditions are
    met, which can extend to a total of 13 weeks where relevant evidence is provided. This
    period is intended to provide those who have been affected by DV with time to focus
    on priorities like organising new accommodation or arranging alternative schooling for
    dependent children without having to also focus on meeting their jobseeking conditions.

    2013 No.

    SOCIAL SECURITY

    The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Domestic Violence) (Amendment) Regulations 2013

    Made***
    Coming into force in accordance with regulation 1
    The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions makes the following Regulations in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 35(1) and 36(2) of, and paragraph 8B(4) of Schedule 1 to, the Jobseekers Act 1995(1).

    A draft of these Regulations was laid before Parliament in accordance with section 37(1)(c) and (2) of the Jobseekers Act 1995.

    In accordance with section 173(1)(b) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992(2), the Secretary of State has obtained the agreement of the Social Security Advisory Committee that proposals in respect of these Regulations should not be referred to it.

    Citation and commencement

    1. These Regulations may be cited as the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Domestic Violence) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 and come into force on the day after the day on which they are made.

    Amendment of the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations 1996

    2. For the definition of “domestic violence” in regulation 14A(10) of the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations 1996(3) substitute—

    ““coercive behaviour” means an act of assault, humiliation or intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten V;
    “controlling behaviour” means an act designed to make V subordinate or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance or escape or regulating their everyday behaviour;
    “domestic violence” means any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling behaviour, coercive behaviour, violence or abuse including but not limited to—
    (a)psychological abuse;
    (b)physical abuse;
    (c)sexual abuse;
    (d)financial abuse; and
    (e)emotional abuse;
    regardless of the gender or sexuality of V;”.
    Signed by authority of the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

    Minister of StateDepartment for Work and Pensions
    Date
    EXPLANATORY NOTE
    (This note is not part of the Regulations)

    These Regulations amend regulation 14A of the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations 1996, which makes provision for a jobseeker’s allowance claimant to be treated as meeting the requirement to be available for work for a period of 4 weeks on notifying the Secretary of State that they have had domestic violence inflicted on or threatened against them at any time in the 26 weeks before that notification, by their partner, a former partner or a family member.

    These Regulations amend the definition of “domestic violence” in paragraph (10) of that regulation.

    The definition of domestic violence previously referred to abuse of a kind specified on page 11 of section 2.2. of “Responding to domestic abuse: a handbook for health professionals” published by the Department of Health in December 2005. However, the cross-Government definition of domestic violence changed on 31 March 2013 and includes incidents of controlling or coercive behaviour, violence or abuse including, but not limited to psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse. The amendment made by these Regulations reflects the new cross-Government definition.

    An impact assessment has not been produced for this instrument as it has no impact on businesses and civil society organisations. The instrument has no impact on the public sector.

    (1)1995 c. 18. Section 35 is an interpretation provision and is cited because of the meaning given to th

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  3. Reblogged this on glendrixglendenning1 and commented:
    Once again, Charlotte wears her heart on her sleeve, as evidenced by the genuine distress she feels at the plight of the poor souls she encounters during her weekly vigils outside the Ashton under Lyne DWP offices.

    The problem, for me; when trying to understand just why such obvious and deliberate cruelty is inflicted upon some of the most vulnerable people in our society, is that we attempt understanding from the perspective of ‘normal’ decent citizens. The rules created, however, are indeed deliberately designed to make the experience of the average claimant as unpleasant and difficult as possible. The potential consequences of such a draconic regime SHOULD be entirely obvious – and most certainly, with regards to those who drafted the legislation that set the whole foul system in motion, would have been extensively set out for them during the initial drafting stages.

    So, why, in the light of the knowledge that must have pre existed the sanctions regime, would any reasonable human being consider such a system to be either acceptable or desirable within a civilized society?

    To answer this question, we must first of all understand what motivations might lay beneath the surface. When Mrs Thatcher first entered Number 10 as Prime Minister, British Government still operated within the terms of a political consensus brought into being with the election of the post world war two Labour Government under the leadership of Clem Attlee. This Government sought to implement policies based upon Keynsian economics (the mixed economy) and to bring into policy the main thrust of something called the Beveridge report – which amongst many things, saw it a duty of the State to bear down on the evils of pre war society in the form of ill health, hunger and want. This was achieved through the creation of the welfare state and of course, our National Health Service. All subsequent British administrations, both Labour and Conservative, mde policy within the confines of this consensus.

    Thatcher, however, supported by a combination of shadowy super wealthy individuals and corporations (including certain media interests), and justified through the writings of Milton Friedman and the associated Neo Liberal Free Market schools of economics, had no intention of allowing then post war consensus to continue. Instead, she laid the groundwork for the consensus we now live under – one based upon the dogma of the market and laisez faire free market economics. This, incidentally, just so happens to be the very same consensus that existed pre 1939. All subsequent British Government administrations have operated under and made policies according to the auspices of this neo liberal contemporary consensus.

    One important part of this whole nasty system remains absent, this being a form of poor law work house system. In order to re-enact such a system; however, given the decades that have passed since we last saw the unfortunate consigned to virtual open prison for life, a sufficient majority of the wider population must be brought to accept the need for such a system. The wider population must also see those who end up being drawn into these modern day workhouses as “deserving” of such a loss of personal freedom. Witness the drip, drip of “benefit scrounger” stories planted within the popular media. Witness the terminology and descriptives routinely applied to the jobless and poorest – Chavs, wasters, hooligans, workshy, feckless etc.

    I believe that we are witnessing this very process, the deliberate creation of a crisis of homelessness and destitution; for which “work centres” or “community hostels” might seem a reasoned and almost merciful response. No doubt, such places would be run by one or other large outsourcing company (insert your guess here).

    We should not allow the political class get to away with this outrage. There is an alternative to this, but we MUST be willing to stand up and FIGHT.

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  4. Reblogged this on donkey and commented:
    This is how it is, having been through the system on quite a few occasions it does work like this. Solidarity is the only way. Let us little people stick together xx

    Like

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