“What is it with women these days?”
Posted on July 23, 2010
Just like Raoul Moat, Mark Osler, who this week shot his ex partner twice in the head before turning the gun on himself, had a history of violence, in particular of violence against women. And just like Raoul Moat, Osler apparently gave clues as to his intentions before he eventually acted.
In both cases it seems police ignored warnings they’d been given; in Moat’s case from the prison authorities, and in Osler’s from his ex wife, who says she informed the police six weeks ago that this violent man, who would never legally be allowed to own a gun, had suddenly, somehow, managed to acquire one.
A couple of weeks ago Theresa May suggested that men with a history of domestic violence could soon face random visits from the police, after evidence emerged from the US showing that “random visits by police to homes where domestic violence had taken place resulted in a “significant decrease” in incidents.” According to the Telegraph, “In New York, domestic violence murders had fallen by 64 per cent after police started to pay visits to the homes of convicted abusers. Local police have said the home visits give the offenders a sense of being watched and gave the abused spouse or partner a feeling of having allies outside the home.”
Now I don’t know whether random visits would have helped or not in the two recent cases I’ve cited above, although I think it’s getting to the point now where anything’s worth a try. But what I do know is, you don’t have to be Sherlock fucking Holmes to work out that if the police had actually bothered to act on the tip-offs they’d already been given, things would in all probability have panned out quite differently.
It’s long been known to those who work in the field, and to the police and other authorities, that one of the most dangerous times for any woman involved in a violent relationship is the point at which she leaves and the period immediately following it. So it’s not simply a coincidence that both Moat and Osler shot their ex partners Samantha Stobbard and Rachel Puttock when their relationships had ended – it’s all part of a well-documented pattern of behaviour from serial domestic abusers like them. Okay, so the methods they employed may have been at the more extreme end of the scale, but the fact is that some form of violent retaliation against these two women was entirely predictable.
So I ask again, where the hell were the police?
If the Government is really serious about instructing the police to make random visits to the homes of abusive and violent men, maybe they should also think about instructing them to provide protection for women who are trying to escape. And maybe they should also think about instructing them to follow up on the tip-offs they’re given, particularly when they know that the outcome of ignoring said tip-offs can potentially be so catastrophic.
But anyway, back to the title of this post. It’s actually taken from a comment left on a Sky News article about the Osler case. As if it wasn’t bad enough that Sky decided to completely trivialise the incident by heading the piece: “Gran With Pram Shot Twice In Head By Her Ex”, a commenter posting under the pseudonym “west norfolk” has a question to ask regarding women who go around getting themselves shot in the head:
“i went to school with mark, he was what most people describe as a lovable rogue, believe me this is not trying to excuse him, but what is it with women these days that can drive any man to this.”
I know I’ve said it before, but sometimes words really do fail me.
I came here to disagree with the title, but I’m completely with you here. Good post; good points.
I was being hit in the street by my then-soon-to-be-ex-husband and a police van stopped next to us. They may have been about to do something but then they recognised him. Yes, he was a policeman too.
On the other hand, a friend was looking after her divorced friend’s children and was threatened by their father – here the police were really helpful and made a full report.
It takes a lot of courage to leave someone who is abusive and you’re absolutely right – people (and men get abused too) need all the support they can get as soon as the problem is apparent – mitigation is always better than having to deal with consequences afterwards, in this as in everything else.
I can’t imagine there being a huge amount of support amongst police officers for the random visits approach. Obviously some forces are better than others and some individuals are more sympathetic than others, but it is still a common view that “domestics” are in no way priority police work.
It really is a disgrace that this attitude still prevails amongst those whose jobs it is to protect the public, especially when you consider that domestic violence actually accounts for 25% of all reported violent crime.
And that is just what gets reported. The vast majority of domestic abuse doesn’t.
You and me both Cath!
Oh my God, that is fucking disgusting.
The police have so far to go, it’s unbelievable in 2010. I’ve read so many accounts of them not taking domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking, harrassment, basically any crime against women seriously, lately. Not that it surprised me.
There’s little point in random visits if the police will just drive by and completely not take it seriously,
I think what’s actually needed is a decent training campaign for police about crimes against women, covering the basics of domestic violence, rape etc (like, as you say, the most dangerous time is just after the victim leaves, oh and violent men quite often claim the woman was violent against them. Plus, women don’t fabricate allegations, oh and rape isn’t always a stranger coming out of the bushes). I won’t hold my breath though.
Is west norfolk for real? Yeah, we totally drive men to it. I’m sure Moat and Osler’s wives drove them to it by ‘nagging’, um, I mean daring to open their mouths. The silly b*&ches. (end sarcasm).
Unfortunately to those of us working in domestic abuse these cases are almost all too familiar.
In Nuneaton, Warwickshire, the police have a project (Breaking the Cycle) where they undertake random visits to repeat offenders, seem’s to be working (police call outs to those addresses are down), or are we driving the problem underground? All thoughts welcome…
Yes I’d noticed that. Any man whose partner leaves him immediately shoots her.
FFS. It’s too common, but it’s not THAT common.
I’d like to say it proves that there are a lot of idiots with broadband, but unfortunately I’ve seen far too much stuff in the media blaming Samantha Stobbart for Moat’s actions. I don’t know why, since his previous partner has also testified how violent he was, and he was in prison in the first place for assaulting a child.
I’m happy to say though, that the GMP seem to have improved in their handling of domestic violence cases recently, thought don’t know how long that will last with swingeing cuts.
Oh dear, here’s another one…