Friday, November 28, 2008

UK: Mother's tears as court hears how ex-husband murdered her 'babies'

Paul, left, and Jay were murdered by their father

Published Date: 27 November 2008
By Ben Bailey

A MOTHER wept in court yesterday as she heard how her former husband had stabbed their two young sons to death, before trying to set their bodies alight. Ashok Kalyanjee, 46, picked up Paul Ross, six, and his brother Jay, two, before driving them to a secluded spot and cutting their throats. He then poured petrol over the boys and himself and tried to set the silver Mercedes on fire, but the car did not explode and he survived.

Kalyanjee, who left a chilling suicide tape, had lured the reluctant boys into spending the day with him with the promise of money to buy toys and a game of football. But all along he had planned to kill them. He pleaded guilty at the High Court in Glasgow yesterday to two charges of murder, and the boys' mother, Giselle Ross, broke down and sobbed as her sons' last moments were relived. Alex Prentice, QC, prosecuting, said: "To say that Giselle Ross and family are devastated is inadequate. I suspect no-one can properly describe the sense of loss Giselle Ross and her family have suffered."

Ms Ross's last words to her sons were: "Bye babies." Mr Prentice told how Kalyanjee, from Glasgow, called Ms Ross at her home in the Royston area on the morning of Saturday, 3 May, to ask if he could see the boys. Although divorced, he regularly saw his sons. Paul was not keen to see his father – but Kalyanjee offered him £10 to persuade him. The court heard Paul told his mother: "Mum, I could buy a Spiderman toy with £10."Later, Ms Ross received a phone call from her ex-husband, in which she said he sounded "cold and strange". After claiming the boys were fine, he told her: "You'll regret everything you've done to me in life." He then hung up. Ms Giselle feared he was about to flee the country with her sons. Repeated attempts to call him failed and she frantically began to search parks before reporting the boys missing.

Passers-by alerted police after spotting Kalyanjee slumped in the car, parked in a lay-by in the Campsie Fells, near Lennoxtown, East Dunbartonshire. Two officers went to the scene and were overcome by the stench of petrol as they opened the door to the car. Kalyanjee was unconscious and had blistering on his skin. The officers immediately noticed a large, black-handled knife covered in blood lying on the floor. Paramedics pronounced the two boys dead at the scene. Their father was taken to hospital. Police discovered a dictating machine next to the vehicle, on which Kalyanjee said: "These children are mine and they go with me. "This death is near. I've become a gambler and a drunk, nothing has become of me. Nobody can separate us, nobody can separate us now."

At a hearing last week, he admitted killing the boys, and yesterday he formally pleaded guilty to murder. The judge, Lord Brailsford, deferred sentence until 11 December.Latest in a long line of fathers who did the unthinkable

• MARCUS WESSON: In 2005 Wesson was sentenced to death after being convicted of killing nine of his children, many fathered through incest.
• PERRY SAMUEL: Was sentenced to 30 years after smothering his daughter Caitlin, five, and son Aiden, three, in north Wales, in 2006 because he thought his ex-fiance, Sarah Graham, was having an affair.
• MARVIN GAY SENIOR: On 1 April 1984, Motown superstar Marvin Gaye was shot dead by his father in Los Angeles after an argument over misplaced business documents. He was sentenced to six years' probation for manslaughter.
• JAMES HOWSON: Killed his 16-month-old daughter, Amy, at their home in Doncaster, south Yorkshire, by snapping her spine "in two" over his knee. He was sentenced to at least 22 years last month.
• MOHAMMED RIAZ: Murdered his family in November 2006, in Accrington, Lancashire. Riaz set fire to his house, killing his wife, Canez, 39, daughters Sayrah, 16, Sophia, 13, Alisha, ten, and Hannah, three, because he feared the girls were being raised in an overly westernised culture.

The full article contains 693 words and appears in The Scotsman newspaper.
Mother's tears as court hears how ex-husband murdered her 'babies ... 27 Nov 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Dirty Dozen of Psychopaths

Despite all the different names, labels, and variations that people use to describe harmful human beings, whether the author is a writer using descriptive naming with characteristics, or a so-called expert using pseudo-scientific sounding labels, the common feature of the types of dangerous individuals is a predatory nature. Relationships with these users and abusers are so devastating, because they prey on others. The way this predatory nature is displayed is what might differentiate one from another, and just like all individuals, no two are exactly the same. There may be overlap in some types of behaviors and variations in others. This desire to classify people by behaviors IS NOT A SCIENCE. I say this with bold letters as there has been an effort in the psychology field to elevate hypothetical theories and labelling that are more like philosophy to a higher level as if it were a science. There is no way to scientifically "diagnose" individuals with harmful behavior traits. There is no medical test, no blood test, no dna test, no scan, etc. that can accurately "diagnose" a person as a psychopath or personality disordered or whatever you want to call them. In fact, these cunning manipulators often can appear charming to a so-called professional. The person who would best know whether or not a person is harmful would be the victim. These con artists are sometimes so skilled that they can make others believe that they are the victim. They are very adept at getting sympathy from others and rely on this to further their own wants and desires.

To write down a list of traits and give them a name is just labelling. With that said, this list of types is just based on observations of types of predatory individuals. Interaction with people behaving in this manner will likely result in the victim (prey) being victimized in any variety of unpleasant ways. What is recommended to do when dealing with people like this is to recognize this negative predatory behavior and lack of concern for the well-being of others, and then to avoid involvement. Thinking that a person could change or making excuses for behaviors will only result in the victim becoming entangled with the predatory psychopath. The victim may then become an enabler who is depended on by the psychopath. When the victim finally realizes that the person is not good and wants to leave the relationship, this frequently causes an escalation to even worse behavior by the psychopath and more suffering by the victim, sometimes with lethal consequences. It is a no win situation that should be avoided at all costs.

1. The ‘Jekyll/Hyde’ Psychopath comes on strong, sweeps us off our feet. He targets us by falsely mirroring our values, interests, goals, philosophies, tastes and habits. He fakes integrity, honesty and sincerity. He plays the role of the victim. We take pity on him. He wants to marry us quickly. This control freak wants us dependent on him. He portrays false integrity, appears helpful, comforting, generous in his 'idealization' of us phase. It never lasts as Jekyll turns into Hyde. His victims are objectified and disposable. He convincingly mimics human emotions. His lack of conscience is shocking, incomprehensible and emotionally painful to us. We remember his odd reaction to situations. We end the relationship and salvage what we can, or we are quickly discarded as he cultivates a "new perfect partner". He will very much enjoy double-dipping attention he gets by cheating. He will have numerous relationships. He may drop verbal clues about his true character early in the relationship, but we fail to grasp its meaning. Eventually the unmasked psychopath emerges and we remember that early warning. His targets suffer emotional and financial devastation and our emotional recovery is lengthy. Defense Strategy: Abandon all efforts to help or cure him. His true identity is exposed and the false character he portrayed is gone forever. Accept the reality. Seek therapy. Join a support group to know you are not alone. Ignore and don't react to his hurtful words. Don't take the bait when he blames or lies. They fool even trained professionals. Do not be gullible, vulnerable or naive. Prepare for a nasty divorce. Accept no abuse. Learn about mental diseases and disorders.

2. The Female Psychopath: Using her false mask of sanity, this charming "Southern Belle" schemer appears helpless or needy, pitiful, inept or emotionally unable to cope. Even total strangers give her things she gratefully accepts. Falsely claiming to be the victim, this passive parasite lures and abuses the normal protector/provider instincts in her male target. When her mask comes off she is cunning, ruthless, predatory, and loveless.Defense Strategy: This 'damsel in distress' will try to hook and reel you in. Take the hook out of your lip. Don't make her emotional neediness your problem. This black hole of need can never be filled. Understand the mask of helplessness is not the "real her". If she won't give reasonable answers to reasonable questions turn and run. Beware and remember "...deadlier than the male." Realize she uses sexuality as a lure. Avoid financial or emotional involvement.

3. 'Liar Liar' He will lie for no reason. He will skillfully twist our words, dodge and evade questions, divert the topic, and omit important facts in his ever-changing, self-serving goals. "Hang 'em high" he says about the murderer on the 6:00 news. This hypocrite claims high morals then proceeds to exploits, manipulate and abuse others. His lies about us are emotionally cruel. He will accuse you of being crazy. He will blame others and take no responsibility. Defense Strategy: Quietly verify what he says. The grain of truth he drops occasionally is cleverly-disguised manipulation. Do not try to negotiate or bargain. Head for the door when things don't add up. Learn about projection.

4. The Thrill Seeker never learns from his past follies. Easily bored, his hunt for new thrills escalates. His reckless disregard for others endangers them. Poor impulse control, bad judgement, criminal activity and substance abuse are common. Defense Strategy: Don't get involved. Use your good judgment. Say No. Don't take the bait of his rage or manipulation. Don't bail him out. Facing consequences is his best lesson.

5. The Malevolent Psychopath is now fully unmasked. We remember when his eyes were vacant, cold and predatory. This wife-beater, murderer, serial killer, stalker, rapist, fighter, harasser, terrorist has a 'chip-on-his-shoulder' attitude. His short fuse erupts into rages. He anticipates betrayal, humiliation or punishment. He imagines rejection and rejects first to 'get it over with'. He will harass to get your reaction and try to make you look out of control. Can become dangerous and unpredictable. He has no remorse, no conscience and no regard for the rights of others. This coward sadistically picks on the vulnerable, women, children and the elderly. Defies probation or the courts. He has bad judgment. He never learns his lesson and repeats past actions to his own detriment. The media loves stories about his heinous acts. Defense Strategy: Act to protect yourself physically, financially and emotionally. Don't tip your hand that you're leaving. Don't take the bait of his over-reactions. Use the services of the police, law and shelters.

6. The Arrogant Psychopath displays his false mask and his haughty strut as he demands centre stage. He seeks envy, attention even our fear and hatred. He can never get enough. Fame or infamy are the same to him if he can acquire notoriety. Reacts disproportionately to situations. He boastfully displays his possessions to garner attention. Defense Strategy: Learn the red flags of behaviour. Demand equal treatment. Deny him the attention he demands. Learn about Malignant Narcissism. Support his grandiosity and self image when this serves your need to bide time to get away.

7. The Charismatic Leader manipulates others to obtain status, control, compliance, money, attention. His effective brainwashing tactics often found in religious cults or political venues. He targets the naive, vulnerable, uneducated or mentally weak. He falsely portrays himself to be virtuous, the perfect father, husband, spiritual leader, advisor, mentor, friend. Defense Strategy: Avoid him. Know his payoff is attention, money or controlling us. Be suspicious of excessive charisma emanating from others. Pay attention when your gut instinct tells you to avoid him.

8. The Promiscuous Psychopath (male or female) Pornography, hypersexuality, masturbation, incest are reported by his targets. Anyone, young, old, male/female are there for his gratification. This predator takes what is available. Can have a preference for 'sado-maso' sexuality. Easily bored, he demands increasingly deviant stimulation. The internet a favourite hunting ground. However, another type exists, the one who withholds sex or affection.Defense Strategy: Expect this type to try to degrade you. Get away from him. Expect him to tell lies about your sexuality to evade exposure of his own. Be aware of their frequent presence on the internet.

9. The Nomadic Parasite has a lack of long-term goals. With unrealistic expectations, he is aimless and lacking commitment, focus or direction. He aggressively pursues opportunistic predatory use of others. Defense strategy: Be aware of their red flags. Don't bail him out. Know his ability to appear helpless, pitiful, confused and in need of our assistance.

10. The Conman/Manipulator pits people against each other. We may be used as his proxy interacting with others as he sets us up to take the fall while he enjoys watching the performance he orchestrates. Keeps his allies and targets separate to avoid exposure. Verbally skilled at twisting our words, this charmer usually gets his way. Applying 'fear' selling tactics, faking expertise, this scam artist crafts situations to appear helpful, indispensable, ready to solve our problems. Money and conning others are his objective. He will agree to anything then turn around and do the opposite. He will accuse you of breaking the contract. Legal, custody agreements and normal social or personal protocol mean nothing to him. Enjoys orchestrating police/legal action and playing the role of the 'poor me' victim. Defense Strategy: Expect him to disregard the agreement. Know the 'nature of the beast' .Avoid involvement. Be self-sufficient. Avoid any "Trust-Me" get-rich-quick sales pitch. Learn how swindlers and scam artists operate.
11. The Professional Bully is often successful and intelligent in his field. He will fake his abilities and credentials. He exploits others, and must be in absolute control. He relies on his intellectual manipulation, and charisma. His eye on the boardroom, he backstabs his way to high position. He ruthlessly abuses his power. His bad judgment has adverse affects on many levels of society. He places others in problem or failure situations. This professional bully has no social conscience, and is often suspicious and paranoid. Others may support him to further their own objective but this wheeler-dealer leaves them holding the bag.Defense Strategy: Keep your references and resume up to date. Don't get involved in anything illegal. Document thoroughly to protect yourself. Thwarting them may backlash with a cascade of retaliation.

12. The Psychopath Child displays signs as early as age 3. This juvenile delinquent shows early red flags of psychopathy including lying, fighting, stealing, bullying, bad judgment, cheating, cruelty to animals, vandalism, manipulation skills, truancy, sexual activity, fire-setting, substance abuse, and running away from home. Many see him as 'sneaky'. Defense Strategy: Now is the time to fix the problem, not the blame. Maintain domestic stability. Recognize signs in early childhood. Reinforce and reward positive behaviour. Seek medical help - the earlier the better. Establish firm moral integrity practices and standards in the home. Parent/Family Management Training help is available. Please contact your local mental health association

We have used the male gender. Yours could be female. Additional Reading: 20 Traits of Malignant Narcissism
Enjoy the Psychopath Fun Test (Is Yours One?)

UK: Rape father jailed over daughters’ 9 children

From The Times
November 26, 2008

Rape father jailed over daughters’ 9 children
Rosemary Bennett and David Brown

A major investigation has been launched into the failings of police and social services in two counties after a man was jailed for raping his two daughters and fathering nine of his own grandchildren.

The 56-year-old businessman from Sheffield held his daughters virtual prisoners for 25 years, moving them around houses in South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire to avoid detection.
The sexual abuse, which has chilling parallels to the case of the Austrian rapist Josef Fritzl, started when the girls were eight years old. Their father would rape them up to three times a week and punch, kick and hold them to the flames of a gas fire if they refused his demands.
The women were at Sheffield Crown Court to hear a judge give him 25 life sentences for rape, with a minimum term of 19½ years. The man, who cannot be named to protect his victims’ identities, refused to attend.

Related Links
How two girls were trapped
Austrian justice seems better
An abuse on every level

The two women became pregnant 19 times in all. Two of their nine children died at birth.
Sentencing Mr X, Judge Alan Goldsack, QC, said: “In nearly 40 years of dealing with criminal cases and 14 as a family judge the combination of aggravating circumstances here is the worst I have come across.”

Politicians and child protection experts asked how the abuse was not detected by the numerous social workers, doctors, teachers and police officers who came into contact with the ever-expanding family over 20 years. Sheffield City Council has launched an independent inquiry, and the role of South Yorkshire Police, Lincolnshire County Council and Lincolnshire Police will also be examined. Both councils said that the family was known to them. The court was told of several contacts with authorities that could have raised the alarm.

The details of the case have come to light a fortnight after news of the death of Baby P in Haringey, North London, sparked public outcry and fears that the entire child protection system is fundamentally flawed.

The daughters described their father’s sentencing as a final escape from decades of mental and physical torture. “His detention in prison brings us only the knowledge that he cannot physically touch us again,” they said in a statement. “The suffering he has caused will continue for many years and we must now concentrate our thoughts on finding the strength to rebuild our lives.”
The inquiries are likely to focus on health professionals’ failure to raise the alarm. James Baird, representing the defendant, said that it was inconceivable that the crimes could go un-noticed. “All the signs were indicative of an incestuous relationship,” he said.

Social services in Lincolnshire had contact with the family when the daughters were young and suspicions were raised about the children’s parentage. In 1997 the women’s brother came forward with “hearsay evidence” of incest. Police investigated the claim, but no further action was taken. The family moved back to South Yorkshire in 2004 and social services again became involved, but the abuse went undetected.

Chief Superintendent Simon Torr, of South Yorkshire Police, defended the force from claims that it could have stopped the abuse earlier. “This has been a thorough, robust, timely and professional investigation from the moment that the victims first disclosed the abuse, and Sheffield City Council have fully supported the police in bringing about a successful prosecution,” he said.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Children of dead Michigan woman found safe

Children of dead Michigan woman found safe

November 25, 2008 15:07 EST
SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) -- Three young Michigan girls have been found safe, a day after their mother was found slain in the family's home.Saginaw police had suspected the sisters were abducted by their father, who they described as "potentially dangerous." A nationwide Amber Alert had been issued for the girls, ages 3, 5 and 9.Authorities say a tip from a motorist who heard the alert led Michigan state police to a car the girls and their father were in. A day after being spotted in Indiana, the father and daughters were found today back in Michigan, about 25 miles from Saginaw.Police found the body of the girls' 32-year-old mother yesterday after she failed to pick up another child at school. Authorities say they haven't determined the cause of death but that it's considered to be a homicide.The father is in custody. He hasn't been charged with a crime, but can be held for at least two days without charges being filed.

Doctor Saw Paranoia Before Fire

I do believe that this Dr. understates the risks of domestic violence. Not only is he negligent about protecting victims of family abuse, but this doctor also accuses domestic violence victims of parental alienation, but tries to disguise the accusations as "covert" or "subtle" alienation.

His evaluations have not only resulted in the deaths of these 2 children, but have resulted in abused mothers and children being re-victimized in court.

Doctor Saw Paranoia Before Fire

BYLINE: DON JORDAN, Palm Beach Post Staff WriterDATE: December 29, 2006PUBLICATION: Palm Beach Post, The (FL)EDITION: CSECTION: A SECTIONPAGE: 1AMEMO: Ran all editions.

A man who killed himself and his two children when he set his suburban Lake Worth home ablaze last week seemed to be "a good parent" but had "extreme feelings of paranoia," said a psychologist who evaluated Tony Camacho and his family in April.Phil Heller, a Boca Raton child psychologist with expertise in clinical and forensic psychology, was appointed by the courts to conduct a series of interviews and psychological tests with each member of the family - Camacho, 39; his ex-wife, Jennie Carter, 37; and their children, Nelson, 10, and Crystal, 8 - to determine the best custody arrangement in the couple's impending divorce. What he found in Camacho was a man who obsessively craved attention, was racked by stress and failed to compromise."He thought of the world as a very threatening place," Heller said Thursday. "He would only deal with rationality, not with his feelings."The April interviews offered a glimpse into the family's home life, where Camacho was the more active parent while Carter worked long hours.According to court statements, Carter worked as a technician. Camacho was self-employed and worked from home for Adjustable Comfort, which repairs adjustable beds, earning $33,000 a year.Carter could not be reached for comment."Camacho was a good parent," Heller said. "The kids were never harmed. He took the children to doctor's appointments."But when Heller asked the children, both said they would rather live with Carter. Nelson wanted to take care of his hardworking mom and be the man of the house. Crystal yearned for a female bond.Camacho resented the children's love for their mother, Heller said."They had a fondness for her that Tony would obscure," he said. "Tony couldn't handle it."Camacho constantly denigrated Carter in front of the children, and when Heller proposed joint custody on the condition that Camacho change his behavior, Camacho wasn't interested, Heller said. He wanted only full custody.Heller recommended that the courts grant Carter custody. That's when the doctor said he saw the full extent of Camacho's obsessive behavior."He would not stop calling me," Heller said. "He always had something new to tell me. Nobody called obsessively like him."Camacho's emotional problems may have stemmed from a troubled childhood, Heller said. His father abandoned the family after divorcing his mother when he was 5. He grew up in poverty and was forced to quit high school and work to support his family, Heller said."He really had lifted himself up by his bootstraps," Heller said.Heller never changed his recommendation, and on Dec. 13, the courts finalized the divorce. Camacho was ordered to leave the house on Fairview Street, west of Lake Worth , by Jan. 12 so Carter could move back with her children. She had been living nearby at her parents' home in Lake Worth .Camacho set the house on fire eight days after the ruling, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office officials said. He died of smoke inhalation after stabbing Crystal in the back, severing her spine and leaving her paralyzed as the flames engulfed their home, according to the sheriff's office.The county medical examiner has not determined whether she died from the wounds or from smoke inhalation. Nelson died of smoke inhalation the next day.Heller said there may have been signs that Camacho could be violent - he was very stressed, he was obsessive, Carter alleged he had been abusive - but said the man took care of his children."I'm still going through my mind wondering why I didn't think he would kill," Heller said.
- don_jordan@pbpost.comIllustration: PHOTO (B&W)

Phil Heller: 'I'm still going through my mind wondering why I didn't think he would kill.'

Copyright (c) 2006 Palm Beach Newspapers, Inc.

UK: Police let down murdered family

Police let down murdered family

Mrs Pemberton had long been a victim of domestic abuse
A mother and son who were shot dead by her estranged violent husband in 2003 in Berkshire were let down by the "standards of basic policing".
Julia Pemberton and 16-year-old William were killed by Alan Pemberton, 48, who then turned the gun on himself, at their home in Hermitage near Newbury.
An independent review into their deaths found "significant opportunities" were missed to identify the threat.
Thames Valley Police said it "has learnt lessons from the tragic deaths".
A court order had banned Pemberton from going near his estranged wife and their property after he had made threats to kill her.
But the review, commissioned by the West Berkshire Safer Communities Partnership and published on Monday, criticised Thames Valley Police for not having a domestic violence policy in place at the time and failing to notice the warning signs.
They did not receive an effective police response and we apologise for the distress this has caused the family
Det Ch Supt Andy Taylor
The couple separated in September 2002 following years of his "unpredictable, demanding and controlling" behaviour.
Over the next year he made threats to kill her and the family, glued the locks on the house and scribbled threats on an affidavit applying for the injunction.
Mrs Pemberton, who was suffering from breast cancer, met the Thames Valley Police domestic violence co-ordinator a number of times and had an alarm fitted to the home.
But Pemberton was never interviewed by police or charged with any offence.
Unlawful killing
The 200-page report's authors said: "It is our view that on a number of occasions Julia did not receive a competent police response.
"We believe she was let down by the standards of basic policing, record keeping and follow-up.
"There is evidence of instances when police officers did not attend the scene, thoroughly investigate or link incidents or crimes which were reported."
At an inquest into their deaths East Berkshire coroner Peter Bedford recorded verdicts of unlawful killing and said police could not have prevented their deaths.
But Mrs Pemberton's brother, Frank Mullane, from Swindon, won an agreement - the first of its kind in the UK - to hold a review of the deaths to help shape future investigations.
Mr Mullane said: "This was not about saying sorry, it's about saying someone is at risk next week because something is broken in our police force so we have a duty to get it fixed."
The review found that "opportunities were missed" to collect evidence in the first "golden hour" after complaints of his threats to kill were received.
"Had the threat to kill been investigated as a serious crime in September 2002, the course of events that led to the death of William and Julia Pemberton in November 2003 may have been interrupted," the report said.
'Not complacent'
"Significant opportunities were missed in April and May when information was available concerning the escalating risk to Julia and William, which may have led to a more informed police response at a critical time.
"We have concluded that positive intervention by Thames Valley Police in response to reported crime in the preceding 14 months may have altered the course of events.
"It is not possible to know whether positive intervention ultimately could have prevented the deaths of William and Julia."
In a statement, Det Ch Supt Andy Taylor, said: "There is no doubt in my mind that Thames Valley Police could have, and should have, provided Julia Pemberton and members of her family with a much better service than the one they received.
"We agree with the report that they did not receive an effective police response and we apologise for the distress this has caused the family."
He added that the force - which deals with about 1,000 domestic violence incidents a month - was "not complacent" and made "significant improvements" in how it deals with such cases including a force-wide policy on domestic abuse.

Call for domestic homicide review-Australia

Sydney Morning Herald
Ruth Pollard November 24, 2008

A STATEWIDE domestic homicide review is being urged, driven by incoherent domestic violence policies and the failure of the legal system to help protect women from being killed by their violent partners.
Such reviews from the United States to Britain and Canada have documented inadequacies in services meant to help women and children, legal impediments, training gaps and patterns of violence that indicate to authorities a family is at increased risk.
The findings have forced changes to policy and practice and in many districts have resulted in large reductions in domestic violence homicides.
Yesterday Victoria became the first state in Australia to establish a review, more than a decade after a Californian county completed its first systemic examination of the high number of women and children being murdered in domestic violence attacks.
"Whether you are looking at a single death or a number of deaths over time, what research shows us is that clear patterns are able to be identified where the system is weak," said Betty Green, the convener of the NSW Domestic Violence Coalition.
"Maybe policy changes are needed, maybe it is increased resources for training police and magistrates - these are the kinds of changes that can come about via a homicide review process."
When a death is reviewed, every service and agency that came into contact with the woman is examined - police, health services, community services, as well as whether there was an intervention order in place and whether the woman had told family and friends about the violence.
"At the moment everybody holds a little piece of the puzzle and we believe by having a fatality review team all those pieces are brought together and you get a much clearer picture,"Ms Green said.
Myrna Dawson is an associate professor in public policy in criminal justice at the University of Guelph in Canada, and is a member of the Ontario domestic fatality review team.
"We make recommendations that are targeted at specific bodies who might be able to implement a change, such as education for health professionals, police or social services on the common risk factors," Professor Dawson said.
"Actual or pending separation is key … in almost 80 per cent of fatalities we have reviewed, separation has played a role in some capacity, but we haven't really targeted resources or training towards what can we do to help victims to safely leave a perpetrator."

Another common factor that has come up in every review is poor communication between the agencies dealing with the victim and the offender, which often include social services and drug and alcohol programs, she said.
"These reviews help us to identify where some of the weaknesses in the system are, where resources need to be focused and to understand what is needed to implement change," Professor Dawson said
In every death, there are what experts call "red flags" - indications the potentially deadly behaviour is escalating and that urgent intervention is required.
These can include threats to kill the woman, threats from the perpetrator to kill himself, separation and post-separation, a history of domestic violence or stalking or access to firearms, Ms Green said.
"There are lots of indicators that come up that will give workers who are well trained some warning that there is something not quite right here, that this woman is at risk."
The NSW Ombudsman, Bruce Barbour, first recommended the establishment of a domestic violence review team in 2006, after reviewing police practice in response to domestic violence. Since then dozens more women and children have died, and NSW is no closer to finding out why.
"We can see that looking at … the way families and individuals interact with a range of different government departments and services providers … can give you the benefit, certainly in hindsight, of seeing what you could have done differently," Mr Barbour said.
"By trying to identify factors that continually crop up where you see fatalities in a domestic situation will help identify risks and allow you to intervene in a relationship earlier, with the obvious benefit of preventing a fatality."
The review would also help agencies to improve their capacity to respond to potentially fatal situations, he said.
"My office is very aware of the significantly challenging environment our front-line workers deal with, from DOCS, police, housing, or the non-government sector, drug and alcohol workers.
"But all of those people would recognise the benefit of having an independent body look at the way a family that was the subject of a domestic violence homicide was dealt with and how a family in a similar situation might be able to be helped better in the future."
Superintendent Rodney Smith, the corporate spokesman on domestic violence for the NSW Police Force, said his service supported the introduction of a domestic violence homicide review.
"We are looking at trying to intervene at the earliest possible opportunity from a policing perspective to get the best outcome as we can for victims of domestic violence and hold the perpetrators to account."
But the Department of Community Services is not as keen. Without expressing any support for the process, a spokeswoman said DOCS recognised there had been calls for a review.
But it warned that if a review was established, it should "not duplicate existing review processes undertaken by NSW Police, the Coroner, the Ombudsman and the child deaths review team".
This story was found at:

Desperate bids for survival

Ruth Pollard November 24, 2008

Domestic violence survivors tell their stories to Ruth Pollard.
Some leave with just the clothes on their back. Others make discreet trips to a relative's house, taking small bundles of belongings to prepare for their escape. A few squirrel away meagre savings to help them survive on their own.
Most have left more than once and many will return yet again.
Over the past six weeks, the Herald has visited many of the state's refuges, speaking to women who have, in an act of immense bravery, made it out of brutally violent marriages and partnerships and found shelter, temporarily, from a life of fear.
We cannot identify any of these women, or the refuges in which they found safety, because it could lead their husbands or partners to track them down and put at risk their lives and those of the other women and workers at the refuges.
These are the women who have survived, who have made it through one of the most dangerous periods for women in crisis - leaving a violent relationship and taking their children to safety.
Many more before them have not survived. Nearly 30 women and children have been killed in domestic-violence homicides in the past 12 months alone in this state, and there are no signs that the death toll will fall.
Her husband gambled away all their money, time and again. He took their baby bonus and her maternity leave payment and gambled that, too.
When he was broke, he tried to convince Fatima to let him film them having sex, so he could sell the footage on the internet and make money exploiting the woman he said he loved.
Fatima has moved four times since leaving him, and he has tracked her down every time. Despite his threats to kill her and their children, she has been compelled to attend mediation with him thanks to the family law amendments brought in under the Howard government.
In halting English, Fatima tells of her ordeal, tears streaming down her face as she shakes her head in disbelief, as if to say: "How did it come to this?"
"We had been married a couple of years … [when] my baby was born and he started to control me. I was still thinking: 'Maybe he will just find a way to right things'. So I just kept waiting."
But her husband's behaviour worsened, she says. He continued to threaten her, and when the next baby bonus instalment was paid he again took it for himself.
"I asked him if he has a gambling problem but he denied it. He says, 'You are just whingeing.' "

At this point Fatima was not a permanent resident in Australia and her husband used that as a weapon, telling her: "You cannot have the baby because the baby is Australian."
She says: "I was scared, so I kept waiting. In the end, it took three years to realise what he did to me. He kept calling me names, threatening to send me back, and I am scared because I do not know the system and I think I am going to lose my baby.
"He took control of me; I had to listen to him."
Her husband continued taking her money, leaving her little to care for the children. He lurched between threats, hostility and begging for forgiveness.
"Sometimes he is nice. Sometimes he says sorry. Sometimes he is begging me - so I think things can change."
But nothing changed. Fatima's husband was violent, menacing and angry all the time. Once he hit her on the head with a frying pan, by which time she was convinced he would kill her.
"Every night I live in fear. Every night, when I go to sleep, I worry. I lock the door. So every night it is a nightmare. Maybe he [will] come this night - he will kill me and my kids."
Whenever Fatima tried to leave, he took her children so that she had no choice but to stay. And he just became angrier and angrier. He picked up a television and smashed it to the ground, he made his children watch pornographic videos and he yelled at Fatima constantly.
"He knows I do not like pornography. I am worried my kids will grow up and learn violence from his home; yelling, fighting. So I come to my social worker again, I pick up my clothes and take them to my family, secretly."
Fatima is now required to attend mediation with her husband, but even then there is no safe place.
"In mediation he would abuse the kids. Every time I had to give him the children he would call me names - the mediator called the police, he was so angry."
Fatima had applied for an apprehended violence order, but because it had not arrived the police said they were unable to act.
"When the police come they say: 'These are his kids, we cannot do anything.' They said we have to wait for the Family Court."
Her husband continually taunted her. He said: "I am not scared of the police, I am not scared of the shit lawyer. You have to believe me now."
And the threats continue when they go to court. Fatima says he has told her: "I am going to kill you, I am going to kill our kids, I am not scared of anything."

His temper is legendary. When a neighbour upset him, he tried to blow up that person's car, she said.
Within two weeks of her fleeing to the refuge he had found her, warning: "You cannot escape from me, I will find you."
"They moved me to the other house. I think he is stalking me; he finds me anywhere I move. Three times I moved and he find me, in the shopping centre, at the train station, because he is stalking me, he is threatening me," Fatima says. "The last time I moved I feel very scared. I believe in his capabilities because when he is angry he loses control."
Fatima decided to go into hiding. She has isolated herself from family and friends so her husband cannot find her or get any hint about where she is living. A new mobile number, her fourth home in a different suburb and no contact with anyone.
She still lives in fear - every time she sees someone who looks like him she is crippled by panic attacks; if her children are even momentarily out of her sight, she fears he has abducted them.
But underneath it all, she knows she has ensured her children will have a better life, free from violence and abuse.
"I am making new friends. I go to a domestic violence group … I am in a nice house, I have my social worker. I have to keep strong - I am with my kids, we enjoy life, we plan for the future and live in peace."
She had planned her escape for many, many months. Her partner controlled almost every moment of every day, reading her mail, monitoring her phone calls, accompanying her to the supermarket, always watching.
But she was clever, too - the sound of a running shower masked hushed conversations with her sister, a secret bank account slowly accrued her meagre savings, as she planned and hoped for the future.
All the while she braced herself against his violence, the punching, his hands around her throat, dragging her down the stairs by her hair, her body slammed against the wall as he thrust a knife into the plaster next to her head - a threat of things to come.
As his violence increased, he turned his attention to their children and it was then that she made her move.
"I was with my ex for four years and I had two children with him. He was very abusive towards me but it was not until he actually threatened and hit the children that I actually realised it was time for me to go," Bridget says.
"In that time I had managed to save some money, which he found in my account and withdrew, but … I had planned that I was going, my sister knew I was going, so it was just a matter of time and making sure it was safe for the three of us to get out."

What made it difficult, if not impossible, to leave was that her partner refused to let her go anywhere alone with the children.
Bridget had managed to save another $500 - nowhere near what she needed to start again but enough to buy essentials such as nappies and clothes - when what she describes as a "miracle" occurred. Her partner let her take the children shopping with her.
"We often went with a large family … I told them I had to get petrol, which is on the way, and that I would meet them at the shops, which meant I could go in a separate car."
They passed her at the petrol station and Bridget, with $500, her two children and a baby bag, called her sister, got in her car and drove to freedom. She moved in with her sister, who had relocated to try to keep Bridget safe, but her former partner tracked her down.
"I don't know how he managed to get her address. He found her number, he was ringing constantly, he was ringing my mobile constantly. I changed my mobile number at least 10 times … and he just kept getting the details."
There was nothing left to do but move again, for everyone's safety, so Bridget and her two children went to a refuge.
Bridget's case worker went through her details with a fine-tooth comb. Bank accounts were changed, pin numbers changed, Centrelink details changed, mobile phone companies changed, everything password-protected, everything that connected her to her old life removed.
She now gives talks to other women, making them aware there are places they can go to get help and dispelling some of the myths men create when they use violence as a weapon.
"My ex used to say to me all the time that I will never amount to anything, that I will never meet anyone else, that I will be a single mum for the rest of my life, that I won't be worth anything … and I started to believe it.
"When I left him I thought, 'Yep, I am going to be a single mum for the rest of my life, stuck on welfare, Department of Housing, the whole lot,' and it wasn't so long ago that I realised that is not true.
"I have been able to move on with my life. I have got the children - they are safe, I am safe. I have been to TAFE. I have now realised I am giving them a hope, that I have given them a chance … and that I won't be alone … Life is good at the moment."
"I came to Australia with not any knowledge of English. I didn't have any family or friends and only after the short time of a month I had been raped and stuck into a very violent relationship with a man, so it took me so many years, about 4½ years, to get out of it."

Karla has just emerged from another violent encounter with a man she shared a flat with. He punched her and stabbed her several times, until she found the strength to push him away and escape to the street, where she collapsed on the footpath, unconscious and bleeding.
The signs of the struggle still mark her - a black eye, scars just healing, arms wrapped around her slender body for comfort as she recounts her brush with death.
"He took the knife [and] I realise he is ready to kill me. He is struggling with one hand, holding the knife in the other. He was saying his prayer to God: 'God forgive me, I have to kill her.'
"When he said that, I saw in his eyes, this is it, this is the killer look."
It all began innocently enough. Karla met the man's sister out one night and she befriended her. Soon she had met the entire family and it made sense to move into a flat with the man, so welcoming were he and his relatives.
But what looked like a loving family turned out to be one devoted to crime, Karla says.
"They all hide this from me. They say they are religious. They introduce me to their parents, to most of the family, they accepted me as I have no family here and only two dedicated friends - I guess they took that as easy access to a new victim.
"From what I have found out, it is not only me who went through this … That person who did this to me is now charged - at the moment he is in the jail. The bigger danger is his brother, because they are working as a team."
Karla has since been moved to another refuge for her safety. Now her biggest challenge is to break the cycle of violence that has punctuated her life.
"I don't know that I am brave but I know myself I am very strong in my belief, in my heart, there must be a way out of anything … I am not going to give up."
She must also face the prospect of giving evidence against her attacker, and the ever-present danger she feels at the thought of being exposed to him and his family. "I am very concerned about my safety - the fear is stronger and deeper."
This story was found at:

Latest related coverage
Dying to be heardAudio slideshow: The Herald spent weeks with women in domestic violence refuges. Here are their stories.
Shameful secret of our family murder epidemic
Despite all her cries for help, Evelina was left to die
Call for domestic homicide review
Remembering the victims

Austrailia: Shameful secret of our family murder epidemic

By Ruth Pollard November 24, 2008

THE number of women and children murdered in domestic violence is at a 10-year high, prompting calls for an urgent review of the state's fractured legal, police and community service systems.
At least 74 women and dozens of children die in Australia each year at the hands of violent men, making up the majority of all murders committed.
But experts warn the real death rates are even higher because of serious weaknesses in the way homicide data is collected. Family law changes that force shared custody and mediation have placed even more women and children at risk of harm, they say.
The Victorian Attorney-General, Rob Hull, announced yesterday his state would be the first to implement a domestic violence death review, saying the aim was to analyse all cases and develop more effective strategies to reduce homicide rates. The NSW Government has so far ignored these calls.
It is not hard to find flaws in the way the police and legal systems deal with violence against women. In the past two years alone there have been countless preventable domestic violence homicides, where danger signs were not recognised, or worse - ignored, where women repeatedly sought protection and did not receive it, where children were killed because women at risk were denied help to survive away from violent partners.
These are just a few cases:
 A woman and her daughter were found dead earlier this year. The Herald understands the woman, who was not an Australian resident, sought an apprehended violence order but police rejected her pleas for help because they thought she was complaining in order to get residency.
 Gary Bell murdered his children, Bon, Maddie and Jack, then killed himself in Pericoe on the South Coast this year - he had been arrested for assaulting his wife just beforehand but was released by police. The family was known to the Department of Community Services.
 Rachael Young was shot and killed in front of her child by her ex-partner, who had just been granted bail on assault charges.
 A woman and her baby were burned to death in their home by her boyfriend - violence had been repeatedly reported to police.
The NSW Ombudsman, Bruce Barbour, said the Government's response to the issue was inadequate and a review would significantly reduce the death toll by identifying risk factors for domestic violence homicides and where families fall through the cracks.
"You will usually see threats of violence or homicide being made before a death occurs, or find access to weapons, or previous examples of depression, drug or alcohol issues," Mr Barbour told the Herald.

"Looking at how they are dealt with, whether they have been properly identified by agencies as signalling greater risk down the track, is very important to preventing these deaths."
Similar reviews - some in place more than a decade - in the US, Britain and Canada have resulted in a dramatic drop in deaths. In Santa Clara County, California, there were 51 domestic homicides in 1997. With reforms implemented after a homicide review, deaths fell to three last year.
The sheer volume of harm - more than 27,000 domestic violence-related assaults in NSW last year, making up 30 per cent of all assaults reported to police and about 35 per cent of all police work - is overwhelming. Then there are the deaths, peaking in NSW this year at a 10-year high of 29 domestic violence-related murders from July last year to June.
The majority of these occur in partnerships deeply scarred by violence, often with apprehended violence orders or other legal interventions in place. Nationally, at least 40 per cent of all homicides involved intimate partners or ex-partners or another known family connection, said Judy Putt, head of research at the Australian Institute of Criminology.
In NSW, a much more limited collection of data from the Bureau of Crime Statistics puts domestic violence-related homicides at 34 per cent of all murders. Yet this is only part of the picture, as the only homicides counted are those prosecuted through the courts. Murder-suicides, which make up a quarter of cases, and family annihilation, where the father kills his children, possibly his wife, then himself, are not counted, as there is no one to prosecute.
The horrific deaths of the three children in Pericoe, or the murder of Ingrid Poulson's two children and her father by her estranged husband in 2003 are not counted in the statistics, because the men killed themselves.
"Our key concern is that the increased number that we are seeing is only the tip of the iceberg and that there are a lot more women dying in domestic violence-related fatalities than what we know about," said Betty Green, the co-ordinator of the NSW Domestic Violence Coalition.
Despite education campaigns, there were still significant misunderstandings about domestic violence in the community and in key services such as police, leading many to miss clear danger signs women and children were at extreme risk, she warned.
"Women do not die by accident, they don't die because of a mistake, they die because of a culmination of a repeated pattern of violent behaviour," she said. "There is no passion, there is no love in a domestic violence fatality. It is really, really important that we name it for what it is - in most cases it is premeditated, it is anger, it is revenge and it is the ultimate act of control."

This story was found at:

Latest related coverage
Dying to be heardAudio slideshow: The Herald spent weeks with women in domestic violence refuges. Here are their stories.
Despite all her cries for help, Evelina was left to die
Desperate bids for survival
Call for domestic homicide review
Remembering the victims

Monday, November 24, 2008

Family therapist jailed on charges of domestic battery

Why and how victims of psychopaths continue to be victimized is very much a result of unethical mental health professionals profiteering off family law cases.

To give you an example of the hypocrisy at work, please check out this article on the arrest of one such family therapist:

Family therapist jailed on charges of domestic battery
Holder 11/23/2008 St. Petersburg TimesMichael Anthony Holder, a family therapist for the non-profit Agency for Community Treatment Services in Tampa, has a Web site that touts his "Dynamic Parenting System." But Holder's own parenting tactics landed him in jail Saturday night, where he remained Sunday without bond on charges of domestic battery. They include choking and injuring his 15-year-old stepson.

Tampa family therapist jailed
By Alexandra Zayas, Times Staff Writer In print: Monday, November 24, 2008

TAMPA — Tired of your child's defiance, arguing, and disrespectful attitude?
Having problems with your child at home, in school, or out in public?
Family therapist Michael Anthony Holder poses these questions on his Web site, and offers an answer:
His "Dynamic Parenting System," an intensive series of in-home consultations designed to help parents correct their children's negative behaviors.
But Saturday night, Holder's own parenting tactics landed him in jail.
Holder, 39, was arrested on two domestic battery charges, including battery on his 15-year-old stepson, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office reports.
Holder is accused of grabbing the boy by the neck during a dispute, choking him and inflicting several cuts on the boy's arms and face and a bruise on his left arm, an arrest report said.
Holder denied choking the boy, but admitted touching him in an attempt to get his stepson out of his living quarters, the report states.
Holder, of Tampa, remained in Orient Road Jail on Sunday without bail.
Holder lists his employer as ACTS, or Agency for Community Treatment Services, a nonprofit that provides a range of services, from help with substance abuse to mental illness to child protection.
The report says that Holder's wife identified herself as a witness to deputies. She could not be reached for comment Sunday.
Hillsborough court records show Holder and his wife filed for divorce less than two weeks ago.
"Behind great relationships there is always great parenting," Holder says in his Web site. "And great parenting is only achieved when a child values and respects the role of their parent."
Alexandra Zayas can be reached at or (813) 226-3354.