As a former senior police officer, high profile murder detective, head of public protection and creator of Operation Anagram (set up to trace victims of serial killer Peter Tobin), I have always been compassionate about looking at crimes from a victim focused perspective.
Since the watershed moment when we discovered the extent of the utterly repulsive crimes committed by Jimmy Savile the number of reported sex offences against children has almost doubled. Last year our ChildLine service provided 3,150 counselling sessions- up 10% on the previous twelve months - for children, as young as nine, who had been targets of or were worried about being groomed online.
It was four years ago while speaking at a public meeting on society's responsibility to tackle domestic abuse that I was approached by Irene (not her real name), a lady in her late seventies. She told me that her 40-year marriage had been abusive but her husband, whom she had loved, had now been dead 10 years. I still remember how she gripped both of my hands in hers as she whispered, "I'm now having the time of my life"...
The imminent closure of HMP Holloway in London, the largest and most iconic women's prison in the UK, and the also notorious HMP Cornton Vale in Scotland, are big strides in the right direction. Let them be strides towards dedicated community based services that understand the realities of women's lives and can make a lasting difference to their children's lives too.
As the pressure mounts on Sunderland AFC to clarify exactly when they knew about Adam Johnson's sexual offences against a child an old question rises ...
We won't rest until the man UK police have charged with the assault and rape of three women and the rape and murder of Michelle Samaraweera is extradited from India, and brought back to the UK to face justice. Now some fresh momentum has been built up around Michelle's case I hope beyond anything that this happens this year - nothing can justify why no one is yet behind bars for these horrific crimes.
Liam is 10 years old. His best friend is Lola, a miniature schnauzer. The photo above shows the two together - best mates hanging out. But Liam doesn't know where his canine playmate is right now because she was snatched by dog thieves last year. All he wants is for her to come back home, back where she belongs..
If punishment must be justified, and it must, it should be done so on the basis that morality is being restored. It is morally right and beneficial to society that people cannot get away with wrongdoing. To ensure people do not want to do wrong, weight must be given to making sure the punishment is justified on the grounds that the offender benefits to. Since deterrence did not stop them committing a crime in the first place, what would? A more moral and liberal system of punishment, surely?
In January 2016, President Obama announced reforms following his visit to a prison in July, 2015. Obama explained "how can we subject prisoners to unn...
To suggest that his own officers are somehow 'confused' shows contempt for them and the victims they are trying to protect. I struggle to believe that any officer conducting an investigation into allegations of childhood sexual abuse will send their file to the Crown Prosecution Service without, as Sir Bernard puts it, 'testing all the evidence'.
Keeping someone in prison costs £100 per day. If that money was used efficiently to pay for alternative forms of punishment with proven track records in countries such as Sweden, then the prison bill could easily be cut with no risk to the public.
Patricia Erdmann sits in a living room that is a shrine to her dead son Lee. Pictures of the 37-year-old on holiday, at weddings and with his five children are everywhere. She has an engraved marble memorial to him by her bed. Patricia admits to crying herself to sleep some nights. Lee was drinking in The Wellington pub on Regent Road in Salford, Greater Manchester, in the early hours of Saturday 10 September 2011. He had been laughing and joking with a man at the bar and got up to go to the toilet. The same man shot him in the back when it was turned.
The murder of a Geraldine, Shannon and Shane are not 'domestic incidents'. Burning dinner is a 'domestic incident'. Making the choice to kill your ex-partner and children are criminal acts predicated on a patriarchal culture of male entitlement and male ownership of the bodies of women and children.
When the media conflates the continuum of violence against women and girls with one form and uses gender neutral language, it puts all women's services at risk.
In a society where freelancing and entrepreneurship are transforming the nature of work, those disadvantaged vis-à-vis conventional employment (such as ex-offenders) have the most to gain.
If we allow the radical right to maintain their poisonous grasp on this story, the experiences of these women - their violent fight, their fears and their scars - will be left lying amongst the placards and the banners, dropped and forgotten whenever 'the mob' inevitably find something new to shout about. It's time to start writing headlines about real victims, rather than those who simply shout the loudest.