Category: covid 19

Therese Coffey plans benefit shake-up

At the recent Tory Party Conference Therese Coffey, the secretary for works and pensions declared that the amount of people that have claimed PIP has ‘grown in a way that was not anticipated’ and instead it needs to be targeted at ‘people who need help’.

This is of course ignoring the fact that the people that are claiming PIP actually do need it.

According to Coffey this is evidence that things were ‘going wrong’ and nothing due to the fact that people living with illness and disability has increased due to many reasons some being Covid 19 and poverty.

Coffey went on to say that according to her findings three out of four young people that claim PIP their primary reason being mental ill health.

According to her figures this totals 189,000 young people that receive benefit focused upon a diagnosis of depression and that these young people may also claim other benefits as well.

Thus implying that young people shouldn’t be claiming PIP at all.

 Coffey also complained about the amount of people claiming ESA should have only 25% of claimants should be in the support group rather than ‘about 80%’ of those claiming ESA at the present time.

She also complained about ESA, saying that the original expectation was that only 25% and not the 80% that are in the support group now.

Coffey stated rather predictably that she wanted to change the focus to ‘what people can do rather than the benefit system being currently driven by what you cannot do’

So in essence Coffey is saying that she wants to get people with disabilities, especially those in the support group back to work without declaring any support that might be given to claimants forced to do so.

Coffey says this regardless of their disabilities and their ability to work.

This is despicable and based upon her opinion and not the actual truth which is evidenced in the claim applications given by people claiming ESA.

ESA and PIP are not benefits that are easy to claim. Most claimants are refused upon their first application and they have to appeal and often take it to tribunal to eventually succeed and receive their rightful payments.

Coffey also takes into no consideration about how disabling and serious illness such as depression are. Anyone suffering from depression has to fight hard to try and find some support for their condition. NHS funding has been cut leaving previous lifeline services taken away leaving support hard to find.

Let’s also not forget how serious an illness depression can be. It can’t be cured by forcing an already vulnerable person into work thus triggering them to an even deeper state of depression or worse.

Needless to say, Coffey has a swinging brick instead of a heart and she doesn’t care about anyone living with illness and disability. Her aim is to try and stop vulnerable people from receiving the financial support that they need to live, without a care about how they’ll be able to cope.

To add salt to the wound so to speak, Coffey has also refused to rule out merging PIP with UC, saying that ‘everything is on the table’. Meaning that if they can find a way of persecuting vulnerable people whilst doing this then it’ll happen. How dare disabled and ill people have any quality of life at all.

So, before the DWP has finished transferring DLA claimants to PIP or moving ESA claimants to UC, they’ve already started to plot another major benefits shake-up which is going to harm the well being of thousands of vulnerable people therefore putting them at risk and causing them great distress.

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

It appears that we will have yet another battle to fight. We cannot allow the government to target and harass even more vulnerable people. The government always takes from the lowest hanging branches whilst forgetting that there are more of us than them and we will put up a fight.

Join myself and my friends over at DPAC https:\\manchesterdpac.com and continue to put pressure upon the government to do so.

Thanks to Benefits And Work for the inspiration for this weeks blog post.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. Every share makes a massive difference and it raises a lot of awareness.

I don’t receive any funding for anything that I do. If you would like to donate without putting yourself in financial hardship theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

Every penny really does help and it makes a massive difference.

A huge thank you to everyone that shares, tweets, and supports my blog and campaign.

Your help really does make a massive difference,

This week has been another tough week for me and to be honest I wish that the universe would give me a break. Regardless of this I will continue with my blog and campaign. Thank you all for your support.

Universal Credit uplift ends leaving thousands hungry and cold.

Well it came as no surprise to see that the government ignored the petitions signed by the public, demonstrations from DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) and pressure from MPs to end the £20 Universal Credit that was introduced during the pandemic.

I and many others expected this to happen because the Tory party is an evil, cruel machine that won’t stop until the poor and disabled are gone and destroyed. They want the working class totally compliant to their needs and not their own, this has been proven in the policies and decisions that they make.

Universal Credit wasn’t constructed to help people, instead it does the opposite. If you’re unemployed the payments given aren’t enough to live on let alone survive. If you’re working you can never satisfy the system and are put under immense pressure to find more working hours.

As well as the reduction of monies given to claimants money for debts is also garnished and taken away before their payments are received. This leaves the claimant with virtually nothing to live on after paying their rents which are constantly increasing.

Some people. say that you can get these payments reduced, when in reality it’s either impossible to or at best extremely difficult to do so. The debt repayment amounts are usually implemented without consulting the claimant and they aren’t taking their income, or lack of it into consideration.

DWP and council tax debts amongst others have been the cause of people taking their own lives and attempting to do so. Having no money to provide for yourself and family members makes you feel worthless and its very understandable that people can’t see the point of being alive anymore.

Feeling like a failure to yourself and your family if you have one is soul destroying, it leaves you questioning what have I done wrong to deserve this? In reality they’ve done nothing wrong at all. The fault lies totally at the governments feet and their cruel and heartless polices.

Once you step back it’s easy to see why the government does this. They do it because they see disabled and poor people as surplus to requirements. If they can’t make a profit out of you then they’ll persecute the hell out of you. They do this until a persons on their deathbed and beyond and no apologies are given for doing this.

Then the pandemic arrived and at first the government tried to ignore it, they tried to downplay it until they could no longer do so. When they did start to address it the measures that they took were far from adequate and damn right dangerous. Basically they didn’t care if the working class died because they are surplus to requirements anyway.

After much pressure being put on them by the opposition, campaigners like myself and even Tory Mp’s they reluctantly introduced the £20 uplift Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit claimants which was virtually their admission that the monies being given weren’t adequate.

For some the £20 uplift might appear to be nothing, some still think that everyone has this amount of money to hand when in reality they don’t.

When you have nothing, no money at all £20 makes a massive difference, it made the difference between eating and not eating, heating and not heating and it greatly improved the quality of life of thousands of people.

The uplift has proven too greatly improve a persons and their families life, it was an extra buffer that they could rely on and it made a big improvement in their lives. It also improved the economy because people had a little bit more money to spend.

As soon as the first date was given we campaigned hard to prevent it from happening and it worked. The government withdrew their plans and moved the date until October and this is where we are now.

I’ve had many phone calls and emails from people asking me what will they do next, is there any more funding that they can access and sadly the answer was no, no there isn’t. It’s gone and theres nothing that can be done about it.

The governments decision to end the uplift has caused and will cause great distress and illness for many. Trying to feed yourself and your family will be back to near impossible forcing them to go back to food banks for help.

Foodbanks rely upon donations of food though, and many of the people that donate food are poor themselves so I expect food donations will decrease making it very hard for the to continue with their work.

The governments answer to this is to find more work and to ask your boss for a pay increase and more working hours. This is extremely hard to get though because There might not be any extra hours available and jobs can be hard to get.

Theresa Coffey also announced that she’s going to target disabled people who think that they can’t work because in her warped world they can. To say this is cruel beyond belief is an understatement. They know that they can’t work, they know that its impossible for them to work and it’s extremely hard to find an employer that is willing to make their business premises disabled friendly and be understanding of a persons disability.

Whilst Coffey was singing about having the time of her life on Karaoke at the Tory party Conference, thousands of people were and still are in distress and falling deeper into poverty because of the decisions that she’s made and is making.

I’ve never had any illusion that the Tory party would care for the working class. I grew up under the shadow of Thatcher and I lived in poverty then, having holes in my shoes was a regular occurrence. I knew that they’re cruel and have swinging bricks where their hearts should be.

This Tory government has taken cruelty to a whole different level though, they’re monsters and we must keep campaigning against their evil plans. There are more of us than them and we will never forget their cruelty.

Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas on Pexels.com

A big shout out goes to DPAC for their amazing week of action against the withdrawal of the uplift, and also campaigning to get it given to those on legacy benefits also. To say they’re amazing is an understatement.

I have some bad news though. My yearly payment for this website host and my domain name is coming up in November. In total it comes to £115 and I just don’t have the money to renew it.

I hardly have enough money to live on as it is and I’m reliant upon food banks and kindness. £115 may as well be a million pounds to me because I just can’t afford to pay it.

I really don’t want to loose all of my work which totals to about eight years of writing, campaigning and raising awareness. To put it bluntly I will be devastated and heartbroken.

I don’t want to change website hosts though because I don’t like change and this payment gives me the add ons and features that I need to keep it going.

My dream was to pass this blog down to my children and The Working Class Movement Library in Manchester when I’m long gone.

I really don’t want to stop blogging.

If anyone would like to donate to keep my blog and campaign going theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

A huge thank you to everyone that has and does help to keep my blog and campaign going. I honestly couldn’t do this without you.

Starmers keynote speech.. Empty words for the average working person and disabled people.

As many others did I watched Sir Kier Starmers conference speech in anticipation… Maybe he’ll recognise the plight of unemployed, disabled and ill people. Sadly I was disappointed, his whole speech revolved around the word ‘work’ and how good it is to work.

Heres a word count of the words that he used in his speech yesterday. He mentioned the the word ‘work’ a massive 69 times, ‘care’26 times, equality 3 times, ‘security’ 6 times ‘dad 11 times, mum 17 times and ‘tool’ 6 times.

From this we can be safe to say that the main focus for him was work and how good it supposedly is for you. Sounds familiar doesn’t it. It’s much like the speeches that we heard from the conservatives that resulted in the suffering and deaths of thousands.

It’s not as simple as that though, work isn’t some kind of liberating utopia that frees both mind and body leaving you with a sense of self achievement. I do accept that certain careers such as nursing, caring and healthcare work can give people a massive feeling of achievement there are stresses that come with them.

Low pay, high rents, high childcare costs and other costs that come along with our culture of low paid, undervalued work end up taking any sense of self achievement away.

Myself like Starmer can look back upon our parents hard work but it’s much like a tale of two cities. My father worked hard for little or no thanks and without basic safety equipment. He was forced to work night shifts which prevented him from spending much time with his children and when he did he was grumpy because he was tired.

My mother had several jobs, none of them gave her any sense of achievement and all of them were very low paid. As a child it was awful seeing them become so stressed by their situation.

I was and still are proud of them, but their situations made me want to fight for more than they had. I can’t look back and say that it was inspirational because it wasn’t.

Coming back to the present day…. Most people in low paid jobs have to claim an extra benefit such as Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit to be able to feed themselves and their families. Their wages being so low that they can’t survive on them alone.

It was very disappointing to hear that Starmer is apparently refusing to support a £15 a hour minimum wage increase for workers despite him agreeing with this previously. At the same time Starmer knows that we live in a low wage economy that inevitably leads to poverty. Luckily Labour Party members voted in favour of it even though its not binding.

In summary work does not fulfil the average person and nor will it until working conditions, low pay extortionate childcare costs and high rents are dealt with. Instead it causes stress, poverty and everything that comes along with this.Homelessness is increasing amongst working people as well as the unemployed.

People try their best to better their situations but the current system prevents them from doing so. A £15 a hour pay rise would help this but the whole system needs to change before it can benefit most people to a noticeable degree.

Feel good speeches are good on the day, words are said that some wanted to hear but when you leave out the basic needs of people, ignoring disabled people and those on legacy benefits. They aren’t going to see anything that would change the lives of those that need the changes the most.

It’s greatly important that everyones voices are heard not just working people. It’s insulting to those that are unable to work and it leaves them politically homeless with no where to turn for help.

Deeds not words are needed and the inclusion of everyone despite disability, illness and age. It’s needed more than it ever was before and Starmer must act to address as soon as he possibly can.

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Please read, share and support my blog if you can. I don’t receive any payment for any of the work that I do and every share makes a massive difference.

Unfortunately my daughters ill with Covid 19 at the moment and times are very hard at the moment and I’m still recovering from pneumonia. Every share really helps to get the truth out there.

Thank you to everyone that does share and supports my blog and campaign. I really couldn’t do this without you.

£20 Universal Credit uplift to be taken away British Gas prices dramatically rise.

It’s often been said that being poor is an expensive way to live and this weeks British Gas price hikes prove this. Keeping your home warm is always a challenge when you’ve got a low income, indeed many are forced to rely upon pay as you go meters to provide their energy.

Keeping a home warm enough to live in is a basic human right and it shouldn’t be regarded as a luxury but sadly this is soon to be the case for even more people that could barely afford to keep warm already.

On the 1st October British Gas are increasing their prices dramatically.. Heres one example of how much more its going to cost

To put it bluntly no matter how much we scrimp, how much food we won’t be able to buy anymore this will be too high a cost to meet by many of us myself included,. At the same time the government are refusing to permanently increase the £20 uplift payments and nor have they got any intention of extending it to people claiming legacy payments, many of them already vulnerable and living in poverty.

To say I’m furious is an understatement. As I type this smaller energy companies are being forced to close because they too can’t afford the British Gas price increases. It’s obscene. Meanwhile the Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has announced that the government will not be bailing out energy companies. The very same energy companies that people on lower incomes rely on.

It’s no surprise to hear this though but its still awful to hear.

This winter is going to be horrific for many of us as the means to keep warm are being taken away from thousands of people with no opposition from within the government.

I was a child during Thatchers awful government, I had holes in my shoes, often lived in a cold home and had no luxuries at all. It’s shocking to see how much worse the present governments rule is. Thousands of people have died as a result of the decisions they make towards the poorest and most vulnerable.

How many will survive this winter? I really dread to think.

Photo by Anthony on Pexels.com

How am I?

Still recovering but feeling a lot better. Still coughing but I’ve been told that it might take a while to go, but I’m alive and very grateful for this. Not exactly living but existing like so many other people.

I’m very concerned that I’m going to catch Covid 19 again because its running riot in my daughters school now their mask wearing policies and hand sanitising policies have changed. Children are being constantly sent home from school because they’ve got symptoms and it won’t be long until the whole school is shut as a result. I will write a further blog post about this.

I’m still struggling, a short walk is flooring me but the good news so far is that I’m managing to keep my sats at 94%. Not brilliant but much better than it was.

I shall also keep you informed about this.

Please take care, keep safe and please wear a mask and sanitise your hands. It’s important to stay healthy even when the government doesn’t give a shit.

Please read, share and tweet my blog posts. It’s important to get the truth out there and to as many people as possible.

I don’t receive any funding for any of the work that I do and to say its a struggle is an understatement. Every penny makes a massive difference. For anyone that would like to donate theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my campaign and blog. I really couldn’t do this without you. Thank you xxx.

DPAC #AudioRiot Protest Week Of Action.

DPAC (Disabled People Again Cuts) are holding a series of rallies starting on Friday 24th September at 7.30 to 8.30pm to protest against the terrible treatment metered against disabled people by the government and their allies. They will not be silenced and will be heard.

Join these days of action to see how you can become involved in a full array of resistance demos taking place over the next few weeks including The World Transformed, Peoples Assembly,Manchester DPAC and the Campaign Against Empty Homes.

They will also hear from experts by Experience Commission on Social Security and the New Economics Foundations Living Income Coalition about building towards a better social security system.

The full details are here https://dpac.uk.net/2021/09/friday-24-september-stopandscrapuniversalcredit-online-rally/ Speakers include Paula Peters (DPAC and Unite Community, La Toya Grant (commission on Social Security, Ellen Clifford (Author of The War on Disabled People) with solidarity messages from Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Marsha De Cordova and Ken Loach.

Following this the next days of action are as follows;

Saturday 25th September is going to be a national day of local actions please see their Facebook pages for further details.

Continuing on Monday 27th September https://dpac.uk.net/2021/09/local-actions-cancelthecut-20more4all/

Tuesday 28th September at 9.00am there will be an online Twitter storm for everyone to join in online.

Audio riot protest will be taking place at 11.30 am meeting first at Kings Cross Station London and will be live-streamed for everyone to join in. Hashtags to be used are #AudioRiot #20More4All #CancelTheCut

https://dpac.uk.net/2021/09/28th-september-westminster-join-the-dpac-audioriot-protest-for-20moreforall-on-the-streets-and-online-plus-local-actions-on-25th-september/

Thursday 30th September day before the £20 Universal Credit cut will be implemented DPAC are going to be protesting opposite Number 10 Downing Street London at 5.30 pm

Details here https://dpac.uk.net/2021/09/cancelthecut-stopandscrpuniversalcredit-protest-30-september/

Hashtags to use are #AudioRiot #20More4All #CancelTheCut

It’s hugely important that as many of us attend these days of action as possible in any way that we can albeit online or in person. DPAC are long time friends and supporters of myself, my campaign and this blog. They want change, and they need to be heard by everyone.

DPAC have an amazing track record of holding effective online and physical demonstrations, they aren’t scared of making a noise and being heard.

Please support them if you can.

Photo credited to Vince Laws and I have full permission to share.

Please note, a normal blog post will be following this important post. I’ll be updating it with how I’m coping etc.

Please read, share and tweet my blog. Its very important that we continue to get the truth out there.

A massive thank you to everyone that reads, shares and supports my blog and campaign. I really couldn’t do this without you.

I don’t receive any funding for the work that I do and to say its a struggle is an understatement.

For anyone that would like to donate theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

Thank you.

Ill and struggling. Sorry for letting you down.

Dear subscribers, supporters and newbies,

I’ve been ill for over a week now and today my daughter has woke up feeling ill, she’s got the same symptoms as I and we are both fed up, can’t stop coughing.

We’ve tested for Covid using the rapid flow tests and I know that we need to do the other test and send it off. This raises a problem. though…. Both of us feel too ill to go out.

It is what it it I suppose. I’m still waiting for a doctor to phone me back because I can’t get to either the doctors or hospital because I’m skint.

My internet bill was due out today and I can’t afford to pay it, so if I’m quiet that is why.

I’m so annoyed with myself for getting ill again, and I know that you’re probably fed up with my complaining about it.

Before I became ill again I was almost over my Long Covid, but now I feel like my recovery will be delayed once again.

I didn’t choose to be in this situation, none of us do but I am. Once again apologies in advance if I go quiet because my internet has been cut off.

I’m praying that I’m better soon and my daughter is too.

It was also my son’s inquest on Tuesday, it went as expected but I was still heartbroken. GMP Oldham also dropped off his belongings that will be put in his chest that I made for him.

Logging off for now because I feel dreadful. Lots of love to you all.

I really hope that there’s brighter days ahead for us all.

I’ll hopefully be back to normal next week.

Please can you like, share, tweet and email my blog posts? Doing this makes a massive difference and it helps the truth get out there.

Theres a donate button at the top and side if this blog post. Every penny makes a huge difference because this makes me able to continue with my blog and campaign. Having my internet cut off will be awful because I do use it a lot helping people etc etc.

A massive thank you to everyone for being here for me and my campaign

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

DWP agrees to waive hardship payment debts.

Please click on the below link from the Public Law Project.

If you are told to repay back hardship payment debts make sure that you challenge this.

It is your legal right to do so. If needed quote the below article and insist that the DWP use their discretion regarding payment of hardship payment debt.

Insist that these payments are causing distress and suffering, which they do for thousands of people.

This is also essential because the majority of claimants already have monies garnished from their payments for council tax debt and suchlike.

No one should be forced to live in extreme hardship such as this.

I expect that the DWP won’t like this so don’t expect them to suggest it to you.

https://publiclawproject.org.uk/latest/dwp-agrees-to-waive-hardship-payment-debts-after-successful-judicial-review/

Please like, share and tweet my blog. It’s very important to get the truth and the reality of our life’s out there.

I don’t get paid for anything that I do but I do want to continue to be able to continue to write my blog and continue with my campaign.

For anyone that would like to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

A huge thank you to everyone that and has supported my blog and campaign. This makes such a big difference.

Maximus work capability contract extended for two years.

It has been reported this week by Rightsnet that the work capability assessment contract with Maximus has been extended by two years to 31 July 2023. The continuation of contract will supposedly ‘secure service continuity and stability’ whilst at the same time allowing the transfer of caseloads and services into a unified assessment service trial.

The DWP (Department of Works And Pensions) have also confirmed that they have extended the existing contract with Maximus UK Services Ltd to provide work capability assessments for employment and support allowance (ESA) and universal credit. This will continue for an additional two years to 31 July 2023.

The DWP have had plans to create a unified, integrated assessment service from 1 August 2021.

The DWPs plans to merge the separate PIP (Personal Independence Payments) health assessments and work capability assessments, ESA (Employment and Support Allowance and universal credit, were put on hold last year as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak .

This was confirmed earlier this year in a written statement to Parliament in July 2020, quoting ‘We recognise that it is vital for our claimants to have a safe and stable service. Consequently, my Department intends to explore options to extend the current contracts for up to two years, which will ensure continuity of services when the current contracts end on 31 July 2021.’

In a contract modification notice published last week, the DWP now confirms that it has extended the existing contract to provide work capability assessments – that was awarded to Maximus for the period 29 October 2014 to 31 July 2021 (at a value of £938 million). This now continues until 31 July 2023.

This will add a further £300 million to the Maximus contract value.

The DWP have commented saying that they will -‘Secure assessment service continuity and stability beyond the current contracts end date on 31/07/21’ .This will provide the contractual flexibility needed for any subsequent changes to the ongoing service design necessitated by Covid-19 measures.

This will enable any associated policy changes made during the extension period.

It will also allow the DWP to implement pre-Covid flexibilities and to remove volume and service from the Supplier into a Departmental Transformation Area/to deliver devolution of specific areas of the service (related to specific welfare benefits) if this is required’

‘For more information, see Health and Disability Assessment Services – contract extension from gov.ukSource Rightsnet

I’m sure that we all agree that these ‘medical assesments’ are cruel and unnecessary for disabled and ill claimants. A doctors and/ or evidence from a medical consultant should be more than adequate to prove to the DWP that they are disabled and/or ill. Any government that genuinely cares for disabled and ill people would of course accept this.

This Tory government have proven time and time again that they don’t care. Instead of compassion they issue a relentless barrage of cruel tests and examinations that cause physical and mental distress to thousands of people everyday.

We have a prime minister that happily spends millions of tax payers money on decorating number 10 and suchlike whilst giving huge contracts to their friends regardless of if they can’t do the job they’ve been contracted to do.

It’s easy for the government to target the most vulnerable because they believe that they won’t fight back. However as we have seen from groups such as DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) and campaigners like myself they can and do fight back in the quest to change things. They do and have made a difference.

Its exhausting though, constantly fighting against the government machine who’s policies reflect the fact that they want to get rid of us. However they forget that there are more of us than they are of them and we will continue to fight to make changes that we need.

Photo by kira schwarz on Pexels.com

Today is my son’s inquest and as you can expect I’m upset, the pain sometimes can be overwhelming. I have to be strong for my girls and my grandchildren.

Long gone are the flowers that I used to place on the little shrine that I’ve created at home. Flowers are expensive as is everything else these days.

I hate living like this and I hate the fact that my son is no longer with us. He had plans to do lots of things including sorting my oldest daughters gardens out and to do mine that I can’t use because its a mess. Little unimportant things like this always remind me of my son and the wonderful young man that he was.

I will be ok though, it will get better but I’ll always grieve for his loss but I will learn to live with it better. No one ever gets over loosing a child.

I’ll be back next week with another blog post.

Please if you can share, tweet, like and email my blog. This does make a massive difference and it gets the truth out there which is extremely important to do.

I don’t get paid for any of the writing that I do and it’s a struggle to say the least. I want to continue blogging and campaigning because its very important to help people.

For anyone that would like to donate theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

Thank you!

A huge thank you also to everyone that subscribes, shares and has and does help my blog and campaign to continue. It means the world to me.

My son died.. How am I?

As many of you will already know my son died earlier this year. His death was very unexpected and it was due to no fault of his own. To say that it’s been a struggle is an understatement, after all we aren’t supposed to outlive our children.

My son had plans to go travelling and to work near family in Estonia and Latvia, something that he was looking forward to. Josephs death has changed us all in one way or another.

The sudden death team over at Greater Manchester Police have been amazing, they’ve literally held my hand through it all, from daily phone calls to see if I was ok and other phone calls about Joseph and the horrible stuff that every person has to go through when a loved one dies suddenly.

The loss of Joseph hit me hard again when last week I received a phone call from the coroners office. She phoned to tell me that I would be getting a full copy of his postmortem and notification that they’ve been able to bring his inquest back to the 2nd September rather than October.

Good news I suppose but not the news that any parent wants.

I really didn’t know what to expect when I received my first copy of his postmortem via email, but I did know that reading it would be extremely hard for me. My little boy (even though he was almost 6ft tall) has gone. I had proof in the black and white print I was reading on my laptop.

I suppose that it’s easier to hold onto him before the postmortem results even though we’d already given him a lovely funeral and memorial thanks to everyone that helped me with this. It’s a totally different ball game when you’re faced with it in black and white.

So back to the Postmortem… The coroner couldn’t find a cause of death and this will be the report given at the inquest. I had been warned that this would probably happen. Privately she said that even though theres no obvious cause of death it could have been one extra painkiller that took him away.

I do know however that he fell asleep happily listening to his music after talking to his sister and myself and he wouldn’t have felt any discomfort etc.

The hardest thing to deal with physically was going to his flat and sorting things out. I did this with my oldest daughter and we were very distressed because once again it was a reality check.

We could see exactly what his last movements were. He washed his pots, got changed and went to bed. Everything was left as it was. In a corner we spotted Josephs Easter chocolates for all of us that we no longer would be getting.

Back home I made a wooden chest for Josephs clothes and belongings and I locked them all away safely. I’m hoping that he approves.

Joseph had many struggles during his short life, the most notable ones being his primary and secondary schools refusing to recognise that he was autistic and he had to learn differently to others. I know that many parents of children with additional needs are still fighting this battle.

The sad reality is that years after my son left school, thousands of parents are still forced to fight to have their children educational needs met… From autism, dyslexia and many other additional needs that they might have.

Parents shouldn’t be forced to have to fight for a decent education but still they have to.

Joseph didn’t give up though and despite the odds he did extremely well for himself and I was very proud of him. He was a very special person that is missed by so many.

Never give up fighting for your children, they deserve to be treated well and have their needs met. I did my best but absolutely no one would listen to me.

I’m sorry that this weeks blog is different than usual. I’ll be back to normal next week. Thanks for reading and sharing my blog posts it means the world to me.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Please read, share and tweet my blog. A huge thank you to everyone that does and has supported my blog and campaign, I couldn’t do it without you.

I don’t receive any funding for the work that I do and I’m finding it much harder since my son died.

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Organisations report a massive increase of domestic abuse during pandemic.

Charities such as Women’s Aid highlighted their concerns about the increasing risk of domestic violence due to isolation when the first lockdown was announced in March 2020

 Refuge, a charity that helps people suffering from domestic abuse recorded an average of 13,162 calls and messages to its National Domestic Abuse helpline every month between April 2020 and February 2021.

This figure is a 60% increase on the average number of monthly contacts at the start of 2020, they report..

Between January and March 2020just before the first lockdown in the UK, the charity recorded an average of 8,176 calls and messages per month.

Between April 2020 and February 2021, it logged a total of more than 131,000 such contacts.

Refuge also reported that 72% of these were from women who said they were experiencing violence and abuse, and nearly a fifth said their abuser had threatened to kill them.

They also say that many calls were from women who were being terrorised in their own homes, and who were afraid to seek treatment for their injuries in case they overburdened hospital staff.

Many women were also making plans to flee their homes, while others had no home to go to, leaving them at a high risk of becoming homeless.

Lisa King Refuges director of communications and external relations, said “home is not a safe place” for women and children experiencing domestic abuse.

She also went onto say “Lockdown measures, where women have been isolated and confined with their perpetrators, have compounded their exposure to violence and abuse.”

Refuge report that the largest number of calls and contacts had come from women in their 30s.

Many 16- to 25-year-old women as well as their concerned family members, friends and neighbours, reached out via the helpline’s Live Chat facility to report worries of domestic abuse taking place. The live chat facility enables people to communicate with helpline advisors online and, crucially, in anonymity.

It was reported that in 2020, Refuge made almost 4,500 referrals to refuges across the country, enabling women to flee abusive partners.

When the first lockdown was lifted last year, refuge also reported there was an increase in women seeking emergency accommodation. Refuge have shared their concerns that this could be repeated during the latest lockdown easing.

Respect, a charity that runs an advice line for male victims of domestic abuse, have also reported a 70% increase in calls, emails and webchats in 2020 compared to 2019. And during the latest lockdown, appeals for help continued to increase.

The most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics show that in the period from March to June 2020 there was a 7% rise in domestic abuse offences recorded by the police in England and Wales.

Police figures report that in the four weeks to the middle of January, covering the first two weeks of the last lockdown, there was a 4% fall in recorded incidents of domestic abuse. 

But the National Police Chiefs’ Council said not all such incidents would result in a crime being recorded and hidden abuse was not captured in this data. 

Charities have always stressed that many victims do not report to the police so the figures are likely to be much higher than reported.

The Home Office said the government had given more than £27m to domestic abuse organisations to help them deal with the effects of the pandemic.

A spokesperson added: “Our landmark Domestic Abuse Bill will bolster the response to domestic abuse on every level, strengthening protections for victims whilst also ensuring perpetrators feel the full force of the law.”

The Domestic Abuse Act

In February 2021, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs, told the Home Affairs Committee that the “tail” of the pandemic’s impact on domestic abuse would extend “well beyond” the easing of lockdown, and that survivors depended on these services.

The Commissioner welcomed the Government’s emergency funding throughout the pandemic but said this was nowhere near “the kind of sustainable foundation” needed.

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021, which came into force on 29 April 2021,  aims to make changes to better protect victims of domestic violence.

.Organisations such as refuge and Women’s Aid have also welcomed the Act, but they stress that it’s effectiveness relies upon the correct implementation and adequate funding to ensure that it succeeds and meets the needs of people suffering from domestic violence.

On 11 April 2020, the Home Secretary announced £2 million to immediately bolster domestic abuse helplines and online support. By July 2020, £1.2m of this funding had been allocated to service providers.

A further funding announcement followed On the2 May 2020 the government announced that it had pledged £76 million emergency funding to support vulnerable people.. £25 million of this was allocated to domestic abuse services including £10 million to fund safe accommodation for victims of domestic violence.

The Government also launched a public awareness campaign aiming to reassure survivors of domestic abuse that police and specialist services remained open.

On 18 November 2020, midway through the second English lockdown, the Ministry of Justice provided £10.1 million to boost funding for victims of rape and domestic violence with a further £683,000 from the Home Office for domestic abuse organisations.

In January 2021, shortly after England entered its third lockdown, the Government announced that it had partnered with pharmacies across the country to launch the ‘Ask for ANI’ ‘Ask for ANI  (Action Needed Immediately) to help survivors.

Pharmacies participating are supposed to display material to let survivors know that trained staff are available to offer a safe and private space, with the option to call the police or other support services if needed.

Whilst the government has given extra funding to domestic violence organisations and charities it still doesn’t cover the amount of funding that has been taken away from these organisations throughout the years since the Tory Party were first elected.

The safety of everyone that is a victim of domestic violence, including children and men should be a priority for any elected government. For that to happen we need to continue to campaign with and on behalf of these organisations to try to get the government to accept that they’re failing victims of violence and abuse.

Personally I believe that the funding given should be increased and extended to exceed the full funding that they were previously given. If not the government will continue to fail those most in need of help and support.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

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