Tag Archives: scottish spring conference 2019

What’s on at Spring Conference today?

Friday 15 March

15.00-17.30 Consultative sessions:

A Fairer Share for All

Crime and Policing

Health and Social Care

You can read the consultation papers here.

If you are thirsty after that, there is a Civic reception at the Barbican at 5:15 and then the rally at 6:30.

Now I was going to ditch the rally and go to the pub with my friends because I was feeling like a bit of a rebel. However, I then discovered that my wonderful friend, Borders candidate Jenny Marr is speaking. Now, when she introduced Willie at Scottish Conference a few weeks ago, she let slip that she’d seen him in his Superman pyjamas… On an exceptionally cold Winter’s day canvassing in the North East a few years back, apparently, Willie showed the assembled crowd that he had pyjamas on under his clothes to keep warm.

Posted in News | 2 Comments

Scottish Lib Dems pass policy to make it easier for domestic abuse victims to stay in their homes

I was really pleased that Scottish Conference passed a motion I proposed which aims to ensure that victims of domestic abuse don’t have to suffer the added nightmare of going through the homeless procedure when they finally seek help. It should be much easier for them to be able to stay in their home and for the perpetrator to leave.

Commonspace reported on the debate:

Across the UK, two women are killed by their partner or ex-partner every week.

Scottish Lib Dem member, Vita Zaporozcenko told the conference of her personal experience of being raised in a house with domestic abuse.

She said: “I have always wondered why my mum did not leave and I have come to the conclusion that she had simply no where else to go.”

Zaporozcenko added: “I want you to support this motion because I don’t think anyone who has gone through this at whatever age can understand the emotional strain that this puts on the person or the people who have been abused and the fear of leaving. We should not be making it harder and by removing the perpetrator is the right way to do it.”

Specifically, the conference backed calls for the Matrimonial Homes Act – where abusers can be swiftly moved out of the family home – to be updated, claiming that it is not fit for purpose.

Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP told the conference how the rollout of Universal Credit has impacted on those who are victims of domestic abuse, saying the ending of split payments within the household was “a tool of coercive control” for men.

Below is the speech that I made proposing the motion.

“Why should we have to move everywhere and everything because of him?”

That question is on the front of Change, Justice, Fairness, a Scottish Women’s Aid community research project into homelessness caused by domestic abuse in Fife.

Too often, the trauma suffered by victims of domestic abuse is exacerbated when they are forced to leave their homes, often with their children. It is not acceptable that they should be forced into this situation.

It is unlikely that the event that led to them seeking help was the first incident. Safe Lives suggest that someone will endure 50 incidents of abuse or violence before getting effective help.

So you have very vulnerable, traumatised individuals, the vast majority of whom are women, having to declare themselves as homeless. That means that they are put in temporary accommodation, perhaps for short periods into bed and breakfast accommodation with no cooking facilities, where they don’t have the comfort of having their own things around them, the children don’t have their toys. They are perhaps in an unfamiliar area away from their support networks. They could get moved at any time to different temporary accommodation. That instability and insecurity piling even more distress on to them.

Those who aren’t married and aren’t named on the tenancy face a lengthy and complicated battle to gain occupancy rights if they wish to stay in their home.
The process of transferring a tenancy can also take time, during which the victim can be homeless. This needs to be sorted with greater speed. The Scottish Government needs to produce guidance that strengthens the rights of the victim to prevent them going down the stressful homeless route.

Conference, this motion demands better for victims of abuse.

We call on the Scottish Government to do more to ensure that they have the right to stay in their own home if they wish to do so.

If they are to be moved, that should be done in a planned way. We recognise that the statutory homeless route is not appropriate for families who are suffering the effects of abuse.

We call on housing associations to do more to support people in this situation. I was surprised to learn that not al social housing providers have stand alone domestic abuse policies.

The Women’s Aid research identified serious flaws in the way victims were treated. Women described how they had to talk about what had happened to them in an open plan office.

One said:

“having to repeat my circumstances over and over again was humiliating and distressing to me. I was also worried about a negative reaction of not being believed every time I had to explain to a new person.”

A third of the staff who dealt with disclosures of abuse said that they had not had any training.

Particularly troubling was the fact that the majority of service providers didn’t have any idea that the moment of leaving an abusive partner was the most dangerous for the victim.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 4 Comments

In full: Jo Swinson’s speech to Scottish Conference

Jo Swinson gave a wide-ranging speech to Scottish Conference at the weekend.

She talked about Brexit, and how she’d apologised to a class of 10 year olds for it.

She talked about the challenges posed by new technology and AI.

And amidst all the crap that’s going on, she found reasons to be optimistic about the future.

Here is her speech in full.

10 year olds ask the best questions, don’t you think? I’ve been asked all sorts over the years:What is communism? Have you met the Queen? Can you explain the backstop?

This week though, I was asked a question I really didn’t want to answer: “What impact will Brexit haveon young people?”

How could I stand there, in front of more than 100 school children, and paint that bleak picture? No more right to travel, work and study across Europe – we enjoyed that right, but they won’t.

More businesses closing factories, reducing investment, cutting jobs, like we saw with the devastating news in Swindon this week.

Workers’ rights and environmental standards under threat from the next right-wing Tory leadership contender happy to sacrifice vital protections on the altar of deregulation.

And while we’re on the subject of the depths Tories will stoop to, shame on you Sajid Javid for yourdecision on Shamima Begum, throwing human rights out the window to further your career.

The decision to strip someone of their citizenship should never be in the hands of a Minister.And it’s in the hands of Ministers like him that our country’s future rests.

Conference, I told those children what Brexit would mean for them, and I said sorry.

And I explained that no one knew exactly how this would end, but it isn’t over yet.

That I am fighting for a People’s Vote so we have the chance to stay instead.

Because there is no Brexit deal which will ever be as good as the deal we have as a members of the European Union.

Every form of Brexit will make us poorer. It will put jobs at risk
And it will weaken us on the global stage.

Brexit can, and must, be stopped. Time is running out. This is the time for hard work and real action. More than ever, we need every single one of you, in this room and beyond, to join our fight.

We need every single one of you to write to your MP and get your family and friends to do the same. We need you to come on the Put It To The People march next month and make our voices heard. Because the more of us there are, the harder is it to stop us.

The louder we shout, the harder it is to shut us up.

And the more united we are, the harder it is to break us.

We want a People’s Vote and we want it now!

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Recent Comments

  • Hauwa Usman
    First of all there are many Lib dem members living outside the UK and Europe, in about 17 different countries; USA, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Singapore, Niger...
  • Colin Bloodworth
    One final blast in response to the many comments: I was glad to read some of the comments because they highlight the misconceptions many have about people wh...
  • Denis Mollison
    I agree with Chris...
  • James Fowler
    The Conservatives have an almost total arm lock on the pensioner vote, and this scheme is clearly intended to utilize that hegemony. Few pensioners abroad are l...
  • Chris
    @Brad Barrows. Thank you for your response, Mr Barrows. I was unaware of any "informal commitments", by the West. To be quite frank, it is my belief that the...