Hidden Crimes

The British government has promised to roll out a network of Independent Domestic Violence Advisors to help women to escape from violent relationships. Joanne Miller works at the coalface with women who can stand the violence no more. She spoke to Siobhan O'Connell about her advocacy work. Listen now.
26 November 2008

Hidden Crimes


The latest report by the Home Office reveals, once again, the unacceptable number of women who suffer domestic violence. The report shows 16 percent of all reported violent incidents in the UK are caused by sexual and violent abuse in the home.

Yet the abuse remains a ‘hidden crime', one which women suffer in silence, terrified that they will lose their homes, children or lives if they report it. Often the violence is repeated time and again; the report highlights the fact that one in four victims is attacked three or more times.

The government says it is ‘determined' to make it easier for victims to come forward and has promised to roll out a network of Independent Domestic Violence Advisors as part of a programme to help victims to access services.

Siobhan O'Connell has been to Birmingham to meet Joanne Miller, a survivor of domestic violence herself. She works for an organisation called WAITS Women Acting in Today's Society and supports women who want to escape from violent situations. She has also recently trained as a IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advisor). Joanne is often at the coalface, a first point of contact when a woman can bear the violence no more.

Listen here to find out how advocacy works at grassroots level.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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