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Abusive relationships to be looked at during magistrates open day
5:00pm Tuesday 1st October 2013 in News
BROMSGROVE and Redditch magistrates will be welcoming the public to Redditch Magistrate’s Court at the weekend.
An open day will take place on Saturday, October 5 from 10am-3.30pm.
Magistrates will open up the Redditch court to give people the opportunity to look behind the scenes and discover how local justice works.
They will learn not only what happens within the magistrates’ court itself, but also about the work being done in Worcestershire to prevent crime happening in the first place, to work within the criminal justice system, and to help victims and offenders turn their lives around.
Activities include Mock Trial Live! when NEW College students will stage a mock trial, presentations on protecting young people online, understanding substance abuse, abusive relationships, and there will be a chance to find out what it’s like to be locked in a cell or be carried in prison transport.
The Probation Service will be holding an interactive session looking at the causes of crime, working directly with offenders, and new rehabilitation initiatives including the Willowdene Farm project.
West Mercia Safer Roads Partnership will also be doing a presentation on alcohol-impaired and speeding courses, and the latest initiatives to make roads safer.
St Basil’s will take about its work helping homeless young people, and supporting them into training and employment.
And their will be chances to learn more about victim and witness support, the Lucy Faithfull Foundaton working with sex offenders and their families, Lime, and its education programmes tackling anti-social behaviour, urban, knife, gun and gang crime, Geese Theatre for offenders and people at risk, My Time counselling, Serco electronic tagging, and community policing.
A spokesman said: “Everyone is welcome to come along to what promises to be a fascinating day.
“And this is the ideal opportunity for young people considering study and career options to come and talk with people who actually work in security, the police, social work, media, and in schools and youth organisations.”
*DURING the magistrate’s court open day one of the areas being looked at indepth will be abusive relationships.
West Mercia’s Women’s Aid, and its CRUSH project, will be explaining how people can identify and avoid potentially abusive relationships, and magistrates will be talking about how the courts deal with the perpetrators and victims of this type of offence.
Megan Harrison JP said: “Many people don’t realise that there is no actual offence of domestic violence. People are charged with an offence such as assault, or sexual assault, but in a domestic environment.
“As well as taking this domestic element into consideration, we as magistrates look at other aggravating features, such as whether children were present and witness to the violence.”
She said one of the hardest things for magistrates to deal with, was that often the victim of such abuse does not want to end the relationship and sever all ties.
She sald: “People do want the abuse, whether this be mental or physical, to end, but often they don’t want the relationship to end.
“Frequently one of the bail conditions for the accused is to not contact the victim, and this in itself can be frightening for the victim, who may feel they need the support and presence of the other person for whatever reason.
“Often, as magistrates, our hands are tied, and we cannot make a victim do something they don’t want to do.
Everyone is welcome to attend the open day at the courts.
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