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In the RAE 2001, widely differing proportions of staff were judged internationally excellent in different academic subjects. This has important financial and other implications, and in 2008 a hierarchical structure will aim to increase consistency. We look at those subjects that will be part of a super-unit with social policy in 2008, and consider what objective rationale may explain the wide differences in ratings in 2001. A quantitative analysis found no such rationale, indeed some variations appear perverse. This highlights the need for greater consistency of judgements, perhaps steered by a ‘super-panel’.
Public and political attitudes towards lesbians have been slow to change in the UK. A number of recent legislative reforms, however, will alter the personal and political landscape for women who do not identify as heterosexual. This article explores the reported experiences of lesbians in the UK, concentrating on those who provide care for others, be this in a personal and/or professional context, and reviews the way in which legal and social changes look set to impact on them. Three distinct areas are examined by drawing on recent research: lesbian parents, lesbian carers and lesbians working in the care sector. Common themes and differences are identified and discussed.
The article concludes that the UK government is becoming more proactive in its response to lesbian lifestyles, particularly in respect of those who have, or intend to have children. The overall approach, though based upon sound principles of civil rights, is piecemeal. In all three of the areas covered, lesbians face continued discrimination and inequality. The discussion draws attention to the need to consider such issues across the life-course and for policy makers to recognise that lesbians may have multiple social roles as parents, carers and care workers.
The extent and nature of loneliness in later life does not show a consistent relationship with gender. Our study investigates whether there are differences in the nature and extent of loneliness amongst older men and women in contemporary Britain.
Loneliness was measured using a self-report four-point scale in a nationally representative survey of people aged 65+ living in the community.
Survey response rate was 77 per cent and the sample of 999 approximates to that of the general population. Approximately half of our sample 53 per cent were women. Compared with males in the sample women were significantly more likely to be widowed, live alone and have direct contact with friends and relatives. Preliminary analysis identified statistically significant differences between men and women in and self-reported loneliness (and changes over the previous decade). Ordered logistic regression, indicated that gender was no longer independently associated with loneliness once the confounding influences of marital status, age and living arrangement were excluded.
The overall self-reported prevalence of severe loneliness shows little difference between men and women, challenging the stereotype that loneliness is a specifically female experience.
This paper examines social and demographic predictors of debt problems, whether debt problems tend to occur in combination with other problems and which people tend to experience long- rather than short-term debt. Data were extracted from a survey of 5,611 adults' experiences of civil justice problems, throughout England and Wales. Being in receipt of benefits and long-term illness or disability were the strongest predictors of debt, with long-term ill or disabled respondents also being more susceptible to long-term debt. We highlight the importance of advice interventions that recognise the link between civil justice problems and health, illness or disability.
One of the most substantial additions made by the ‘three worlds of welfare’ thesis to the welfare state modelling business is that comparisons should examine what welfare states actually do rather than how much they are afforded or which services they provide. This paper extends this basic principle by comparing the health outcomes (measured in terms of infant mortality rates) of welfare states and welfare state regimes. It examines whether there are significant differences in health status between the ‘three worlds of welfare’ and to what extent a relationship exists between health and decommodification. It concludes by reflecting upon the implications for the ‘three worlds of welfare’.
Themed Section on National and International responses to gendered violence against women
Over the last 30 or so years the problem of violence against women and how states should respond to it, in its myriad of forms, has become increasingly prevalent in academic and policy debates at both the national and international level. An active international women's movement, spanning Europe, the United States and many parts of the Southern hemisphere, including in particular Latin America and South Asia, has facilitated this growing awareness of gendered violence as a social problem requiring intervention. In a separate, but ultimately related, development there has been a growing global concern with extending human rights protection to women as a distinct group with specific concerns and needs. As a consequence of these twin developments, the tendency for gendered violence to be seen as an essentially private affair requiring limited state interfe-rence has slowly, but increasingly, been superseded by the recognition that the state has been failing victims.
Based on primary research for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission this article focuses on the conditions and regimes under which women and girls are imprisoned in the North of Ireland. Extensive interviews with women place their experiences and reflections at the heart of the analysis and are supported by full observational access to the daily routines in operation at the Mourne House Unit at Maghaberry Prison. Of particular concern are institutionalised practices regarding self-harm, suicide prevention and the pathologisation of girls and women with mental health needs.
This article explores the process of attrition, where domestic violence cases fail to make it through the criminal justice system and do not result in criminal conviction. The article draws on the hitherto most detailed study of such attrition in the UK. The research, carried out across the Northumbria Police Force area, explored the quantitative attrition of domestic violence cases, from reporting to the police to final court outcome, contextualising this via the experiences of individuals (mainly women) victimised by domestic violence as well as the perspectives and practices of the police, prosecutors, the courts and non-criminal justice agencies.
If the main aim of civil law is to regulate and improve matters for the future, by, for example, making orders about the future behaviour of parties rather than punishing past behaviour (criminal law), then a fundamental question is whether the civil law is adequately fulfilling these requirements regarding domestic violence. This is a particularly pertinent question given the implementation of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004. This article will examine whether the Government's reforms offer protection to all victims of domestic violence as proposed in the Consultation Paper ‘Safety and Justice’ and will suggest that instead of achieving a clear coherent framework for dealing with domestic violence, the Act has taken a step towards blurring the boundaries between the criminal and civil law.
This article analyses the specific ways in which Latin American countries have judicialised domestic violence over the last decade. In particular, it highlights the new definitions of spousal abuse and procedures adopted in both criminal and non-criminal courts. The region has seen two countervailing tendencies, the first to criminalise, through penal code definitions and higher penalties, the second to divert this offence into legal arenas that tend, either implicitly or explicitly, towards effective decriminalisation and downgrading of this form of social violence due to their emphasis on conciliation and transactional procedures. This has resulted, in many cases, in a two-track, hybridised treatment of domestic violence that is ultimately unsatisfactory in meeting the various needs of women victims.
The major reform package adopted by the Swedish Government in the late 1990s to counteract men's violence against women has now been evaluated seven years on. The original reform included legislative changes, as well as assignments to public authorities with an emphasis on improving encounters between abused women and representatives of the various authorities. The evaluation inquiry has identified pervasive shortcomings in the implementation of the reform package. Areas of special concern include the low priority given to the issue and the lack of guidelines, of continuity, of adequate resources, and, not least, of a ‘shared perspective’ on the causes and impact of men's violence against women. Future discussions and efforts will also be informed by, yet another, and slightly more recent government commissioned report on gender equality that includes an extensive discussion about men's violence against women and advocates a more eclectic approach than advocated by the evaluation inquiry.
This article examines the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to critically consider its effectiveness as a bill of rights for women. After having discussed the need for such a convention for women it examines the vital role that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) play in the implementation of the Convention. As of March 2005, 180 countries – 90 per cent of the members of the United Nations – were party to this Convention. However, the document is one of the most highly reserved international human rights instruments and although many nations have ratified the Convention they have done so conditionally. Despite these reservations, women's NGOs have used CEDAW as a powerful tool to effect change. Yet, whilst CEDAW has been heralded as a significant step in the development of international human rights, women across the globe still suffer abuse because they are women. There is a need therefore to suggest ways forward in order to ensure the improvement of human rights for women.
This article aims to assess ways in which different justice schemes may operate together for an improved legal and political response to victims of sexual crimes in the aftermath of armed conflicts. The article will briefly present the problem of sexual violence against women in armed conflict. It will then consider the evolution of criminal justice in regard to this crime, the results of recent attempts to implement truth and reconciliation processes, as well as briefly assess reparation schemes. Finally it will suggest a series of measures for coordinating the various schemes of justice in a way that guarantees women's rights in the aftermath of a conflict.
This review assesses a law and criminal justice based approach to domestic violence from the vantage of recent reports from the advocacy movement in the United States (DasGupta, ‘Safety and justice for all’) and Amnesty International (It's in your hands: stop violence against women) and the work of legal scholar Linda Mills. The US movement is hardly alone in wrestling with how to reconcile the state's indispensable role in securing safety, support and liberty for victims with its equally undeniable role in perpetuating the patterns of sex, race and class inequality and privilege from which woman abuse stems and from which it continues to derive legitimacy.
There is fundamental recognition that the human rights of women are ‘an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights’ (Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, para. 18). Violence creates tremendous obstacles to the achievement of rights for women and nation states are obligated to exercise due diligence in the eradication of violence against women and to prevent violence against women wherever it occurs. The following list identifies key documents and resources available at International, European and UK levels. The list includes references to website gateways, documents, campaigns, organisations and publications. The websites provide free access to a wide body of literature and all sites were visited on 11 July 2005 to check that they were current. The list is not comprehensive but is indicative of key materials and services that are easily accessible.