domestic violence

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An Iconic Suburb Goes Urban

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 24/02/2022 - 12:50am in

Talk of the towns

As small towns phase out single-family zoning and condos sprout near commuter rail lines, it feels like we’re entering the age of the urbanizing suburb. Bloomberg CityLab takes a deep dive into one of the most interesting cases: the pioneering planned community of Columbia, Maryland.

In the 1960s, Columbia was meticulously constructed on 14,000 acres of farmland. The idea was to build a better suburb with mixed-use, easily walkable villages. And while the town has been hailed as one of the more successful examples of planned suburbanism, it never really achieved the pedestrian-centered, no-car-needed goal it strived for.

columbiaColumbia, Maryland. Credit: Design for Health

Now, the town’s master developer is trying again with an ambitious plan to urbanize the town center with 14 million square feet of new construction. The company describes it as nothing less than “the reinvention of suburbia” — a more sustainable, less car-centric retrofit that leverages modern planning techniques, concerns about climate change and rising real estate prices. But the plans also challenge the very identity of one of America’s most iconic suburbs — or, as the project’s website now calls Columbia, “the third city between D.C. and Baltimore.”

“How do you improve suburbia and make it more available to the masses?” asked one land use expert and Columbia resident. “I think the first part is very easy, and the second part is incredibly hard.”

Read more at Bloomberg CityLab

Caught green handed

For the first time, someone in the UK has been convicted of domestic abuse after being sprayed with a liquid that shows up under ultraviolet light.

The substance, called SmartWater, is a forensic marking agent that stains the skin and clothing of an attacker, similar to the paint bombs that have long been used to identify bank robbers. It comes in hand-held canisters, and can also be applied to door handles and gates. When analyzed, it can link the attacker to the specific batch of SmartWater that stained him. It is now being used by 200 women across England as part of a pilot program. The man it was used to convict was sprayed with it by his ex-partner while he showed up at her home in West Yorkshire.

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“Domestic abuse is quite often difficult to prosecute and a lot of these crimes occur behind closed doors,” said the detective superintendent of the West Yorkshire police. “If we forensically mark, then we can track someone back to a location. We’ll know who the perpetrator is, and we’ll know who the victim is, as well.”

Read more at the BBC

Charge!

The petrol-powered automobile continues its slow slide into obsolescence. In 2021, over 6.6 million EVs were sold in an average week. That’s more than were sold in the entire year of 2012, and three times as many as in 2019. Globally, EVs account for nearly one in ten car sales. In countries like Norway, it’s almost three in four.

EVs present their own set of challenges. There are now 16 million on the roads, contributing to traffic congestion, urban sprawl and pedestrian fatalities. But they’re undeniably better than the climate catastrophe that gas-powered cars represent, and as a consumer product, appear to be the trendiest thing on four wheels.

Watch the video at World Economic Forum

The post An Iconic Suburb Goes Urban appeared first on Reasons to be Cheerful.

With This Company’s Support, Women Are Escaping Their Abusers

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/01/2022 - 7:00pm in

After nearly 10 years of harassment, threats and beatings from her husband — including a blow to the head while she was holding their then one-year-old daughter — Adriana (not her real name) finally mustered up the courage to take action.

But when she did, it wasn’t friends or family she turned to for help. It was her employer, Brazil’s largest retailer, Magazine Luiza, better known locally as Magalu. 

Adriana, now a company secretary with Magalu, was the first employee to contact the company’s Canal Mulher (Women’s Channel) hotline. The hotline was set up in 2017 after the murder of 37-year-old Denise Neves dos Anjos, a Magalu store manager who was stabbed to death by her husband.

Few companies have such a hotline, and at those that do, an employee might expect a referral to social services. But Magalu’s model goes far deeper. Upon learning about her case, the company immediately got to work helping Adriana find a new apartment in Sao Paulo so she could get away from her husband. Magalu also took care of Adriana’s rental payments — no reimbursement was expected — and acted as the guarantor for her rental contract. It provided additional mental health therapy and legal support.

“For the first time I felt I wasn’t by myself –– that I would get some help with the whole process of freeing myself from my abusive husband,” the 42-year-old employee told Reasons to Be Cheerful via a translator. 

Adriana was the first of nearly 700 female employees that Magalu has helped to extract from abusive relationships over the past four years. During this time, the company has paid to relocate over 100 of these women and supported almost all of them legally, financially and emotionally. It’s an extraordinary level of involvement from a corporate entity in a matter most companies view as too complex and legally dicey to intervene in. 

Coordinating these efforts is a dedicated team of specialists led by a senior company officer in Magalu’s compliance division. This rapid-response squad is staffed with psychologists, social workers and other professionals equipped to quickly intervene and support women and their children suffering from domestic violence. As in Adriana’s case, this often means getting involved directly, with relocation assistance, legal guidance, financial help and mental health services. Magalu currently has 100 cases open, 60 of which are considered high risk in that the women are still in close contact with their abusers. 

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For Adriana, this intervention has meant the difference between life and death.

“Once he knew Magalu was intervening, he knew he was no match for a big company like that, and that played a big role in him stepping back,” she says. “All the support and information I got has stopped me from becoming a femicide statistic.”

Those statistics are indeed grim. In Brazil, a country of 213 million, a woman dies of domestic terror every two hours. The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a two percent rise in women’s suicide rates.

Yet there is no legislation in Brazil compelling employers to provide any form of domestic violence support. In other countries, governments and companies are just beginning to assume a level of responsibility in such situations. 

The government of New Zealand mandated paid domestic violence leave in 2018. In neighboring Australia, paid government support is available, and activists are calling for employer mandates as well. In the U.S., at a minimum, most states require employers to provide a period of unpaid leave for employees experiencing domestic violence.

Internal estimates indicate that around two percent of all women working at Magalu suffer from some form of domestic violence, a rate the company feels reflects the wider problem in Brazilian society. Magalu’s chairwoman, Luiza Trajano, has made supporting affected employees a priority,  and was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2021 for her work in advancing women’s issues.

Trajano and Magalu’s success at creating a public platform for the issue of domestic violence is one of the reasons behind the company’s high intervention rate. Magalu uses its internal television station, TV Luiza, to regularly encourage affected employees and concerned colleagues to come forward. (The company has 50,000 workers, half of whom are women.). After a broadcast, there is usually an uptick in calls to the Women’s Channel as affected employees are reminded they have somewhere to turn, despite Brazil’s highly religious culture where suffering in silence is the norm.

Even with all the resources Magalu has poured into helping domestic violence victims, the company can only do so much, notes its corporate reputation and sustainability manager Ana Luiza Herzog.

“We can do everything and still not be successful,” says Herzog. “We help financially, even moving a victim from one state to another, and when we check in, we might find things are going just fine, or we might find they are moving back in with their abusive partner.” 

“And then there’s nothing we can do,” she says. “It’s no easy issue. Let’s not pretend that.”

Adriana’s case illustrates this — and also shows how the persistence of a corporate ally can lead to a positive outcome. She was eventually able to divorce her husband in late 2017, but he continued to follow and harass her for six months afterwards. That was when Magalu’s domestic violence support team threatened to escalate the case to the high-profile Brazilian prosecutor, Gabriela Manssur, known for championing women’s rights. He retreated.

Today, Adriana’s only connection to him is through their two school-aged daughters, who he sees locally on weekends. Adriana doesn’t allow him to take them on long-distance trips and the children must keep their cell phones on at all times.

At Magalu, the death of Denise Neves dos Anjos continues to cast a shadow. An investigation revealed she had been badly beaten by her husband just six months prior to her murder. 

“We could have prevented Denise’s death, but at the time, we knew nothing about this issue,” laments Herzog.

Yet there is some solace to be found in Adriana’s success story.

“I might not be here if I hadn’t gotten help from Magalu,” she says. “That could have been me. I’m very grateful.”

The post With This Company’s Support, Women Are Escaping Their Abusers appeared first on Reasons to be Cheerful.

White Ribbon Ambassador Charged With Domestic Violence

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 20/10/2015 - 11:57am in

NSW Delivers $60 Million for Domestic Violence Prevention

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 14/10/2015 - 3:35pm in

Turnbull Commits $100 Million to Stop Domestic Violence

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 24/09/2015 - 11:31am in

Daisy App Connects More Women to Support Services

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 03/09/2015 - 9:44am in

Aus Family Violence Hotline Launches in PNG

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 20/08/2015 - 10:00am in

Tony Abbott Appoints Rosie Batty to Government Panel

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 29/01/2015 - 10:01am in

Rosie Batty Welcomes Royal Commission

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 22/01/2015 - 10:26am in

Telstra Offers Domestic Violence Leave

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 19/01/2015 - 11:27am in

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