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Tell us here: We will print a selection of your views in the next issue.


should teach young people what healthy relationships look like and provide mentoring and counselling on those issues through people they trust. We should acknowledge that half of people never seek assistance from the state. We should explore what justice means to them and seed community-based services and supports, including community accountability projects and reformative and transformative justice work, to meet their needs. Criminalization drives intimate partner violence – we need to radically reimagine our responses.

STELLA: It’s true that current criminal justice norms do not eliminate the diverse causes of domestic violence including psychosis, substance abuse, alcoholism, low self-esteem, toxic masculinities, entrenched customs of violence, inabilities to make ends meet, peer pressure and so forth. However, they do offer avenues of detecting perpetrators, reporting and bringing them to book. Children, dependants and other household members who may face harm as collateral damage during domestic violence have provisions in the law in most legal systems for re-negotiating custody, referral to shelters, support of Probation Welfare Officers attached to the Child and Family courts, relocation to safer accommodation, referral to medical treatment, and compensation. These referral pathways and enforcement of cost orders are only currently availed through the criminal and judicial processes. Possibilities of (re) arrest, charging and trial deter potential perpetrators of domestic violence. Heavy monetary fines and prison sentences deter first offenders from repeating the abuse. In fact, in Uganda there are local advocates of criminalization who are pressing for amending the current Domestic Violence Act (2010) to increase the maximum penalty from two to five years.

Rather than decriminalizing domestic violence, the state must design programmes that address the bottlenecks in the criminal processes, including the failure to investigate reported cases with timeliness, corrupt police and judicial officials who release perpetrators after receiving bribes, destroying of collected evidence, disappearing court files, familial pressure upon victims to drop cases because of respectability and family honour. l

YOUR VIEWS ON: ‘IS HOMESCHOOLING SOCIALLY HARMFUL?’ A reader responds to a debate in a previous issue (NI530).

I’m very pleased to see the article, ‘Is homeschooling socially harmful?’ in the March/ April edition. About two years ago I read from a reliable source that over 60,000 children are educated at home in the UK! I did not know that, and if I had been asked I would not have even guessed half such an amount.

Truly staggering. Thinking about this reality since has brought me to a number of conclusions. Leave aside the glaringly obvious causes: funding cuts in schools, grammar schools in certain counties and teacher shortages in deprived parts of the country. We then must look at the more concerning issues: firstly, insular thinking that you are not interested in anything outside your own backyard; then the fear your children might meet someone from another religion or another sexual orientation or gender identity. ‘Foreigners’ are another great worry – heaven forbid little Johnny must sit near one! Next we have followers of the anti-vax movement, probably only around five per cent but still very worrying, to put it mildly. I still remember an old article where parents said their children are not at risk because they never meet any other children! How appalling.

Last but not least we have pushy selfish parents who consider they know better than our teachers and amongst this cohort – probably the wealthiest, anyway – I now hear calls advocating tax reductions.

If this phenomenon continues – yes, I know a few must be home-schooled – then we could end up with the poor attending even worse-funded schools and the rich enjoying private tuition partially funded by reduced taxation! Disastrous all round! ROBERT BOSTON, KENT


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