• James Rowlands

The last leg

As 2019 comes to a close, I’m starting the final leg of my Churchill Fellowship. After visits to the United States, Australia and New Zealand, my travels will end in Canada. First, I will spend some time in Toronto, where I am going to have the chance to observe a meeting of the Ontario Domestic Violence Death Review Committee. I’ll also be travelling to London, Ontario to Western University, where I will be presenting at an event sponsored by the Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative (CDHPI). Recently, the CDHPI has been producing some significant work on the experiences of vulnerable populations, specifically indigenous peoples; immigrants and refugees; rural, remote, and northern communities; and children exposed to domestic violence. You can read more about that here.

Picking up on that theme, I will be delivering a seminar about domestic homicide and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT+) people. I will be asking why the deaths of some LGBT+ people are scrutinised through the Domestic Homicide Review process, while others are not. I’ll also be exploring how Domestic Homicide Reviews go about ‘learning lessons’. Drawing on published examples, I will unpick how the experiences and needs of LGBT+ victims are framed. Many times, that framing is narrow or problematic, probably because LGBT+ victims experiences don’t ‘fit’ the public story of domestic violence and abuse (if you are interested in the idea of the public story, have a look at Catherine Donovan and Marianne Hester’s 2014 book ‘Domestic violence and sexuality: what's love got to do with it?’).

Then I will travel on to Vancouver to learn about their experience of death reviews and meet with different organisations involved in this work there.

In both Toronto and Vancouver, I am going to be meeting with several community organisations (like Oaith and the EVA) that have done work on femicide. Their work, which often takes the form of a memorial, are an important reminder that telling a victim’s story, remembering their name and calling out men’s violence has a long history, more often than not starting from the grassroots, undertaken on a shoe-string by feminist groups and organisations, long before state bodies started to conduct death reviews.

Having a Churchill Fellowship has been an amazing experience. To borrow the tag line that the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust uses, I’ve “travelled to learn”. Once this last trip is done, it will be time to turn to the next challenge and respond to the second part of fellowship’s tag line. That calls on Churchill Fellows to “return to inspire”. Fortunately, I can’t wait for the chance to share what I’ve learnt. Watch this space for updates.

Meanwhile, it’s been a while since I blogged, so here is a list of new Domestic Homicide Reviews I am aware of having been published since May 2019. (These are the DHRs I have come across, so this may not be a comprehensive list. If you are aware of other DHRs being published, please let me know):

May 2019:

  • Safer Somerset Partnership - Mr D

June 2019:

  • Safer Sandwell Partnership - Eve

  • Be Safe Bolton Strategic Partnership - Michelle

July 2019:

  • South Nottinghamshire Community Safety Partnership - Stacey

August 2019:

  • Brighton & Hove Safe in the City Partnership - Alina

  • Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea – Georgia

  • Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea – Robert and Clare (the Local Safeguarding Children Board also published a parallel review relating to Clare, who was a child, and her sister Ann. This is available here)

October:

  • London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham – Jimena

Other reviews published in this time but where I don’t know the date:

  • Eden District Council – Karen

  • London Borough of Ealing – Kat

  • London Borough of Ealing –- Rukhsana

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