Published: 5th June 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May has recently said that she believes her party hasmade considerable progress ‘towards tackling domestic violence’, however she would like to take further steps against the issue.
The domestic violence and abuse pledge
The Tories have pledged to create a new law for domestic violence that is aimed towards children, which would allow for the violent criminal to be punished for a longer period. It was also confirmed that, should the conservatives remain in power, they would establish a special commissioner for victims and introduce a statutory definition for domestic violence.
The Prime Minister said:‘We will launch a relentless drive to help survivors find justice and increase the number of successful prosecutions. This hidden scandal, that takes place every day in homes across Britain, must be tackled head on, and we must respond to the devastating and lifelong impact that domestic abuse has on children, who carry the effects into adulthood.’
The Tories have pledged to provide support to victims in order for them to leave their violent partner, as well as conducting a review into the funding available for refuges.
Introducing a commissioner for domestic violence and abuse
The home secretary, Amber Rudd, suggested that the introduction of a commissioner would help to ensure higher standards throughout regarding the way in which all police forces deal with cases of domestic violence.
She said, ‘We’re building on an established model of having a commissioner who can then oversee the existing legislation and good practice generally in our efforts to combat domestic violence. You can see where in some areas there is under-reporting of domestic violence. Her Majesty’s inspector of constabulary did a review and found it was very patchy in different parts of the country. So we want to have a commission which will have responsibility for having oversight over that, ensuring that the efforts we put in place do deliver throughout the country.’
Rudd also said that, as with a similar role, set up by Theresa May during her time as home secretary and designed to combat slavery, the commissioner would be very effective. She also went on to reject any claims that police would see it as more of a burden than support, saying ‘I don’t hear that at all. My experience of talking to police and crime commissioners, and to police officers, is that they do want to address it.’
Tackling domestic violence and abuse
The shadow women’s minister, Sarah Champion, has campaigned since 2010 against a 17% loss of specialist refuges for victims of domestic violence in England.
The chief executive of the charity ‘Safe Lives’, Diana Barran, believes that the appointment of a commissioner for domestic violence and abuse would be a positive stepfor society. She also claimed that only one in five victims make contact with the police, and so any work that is to be done in the future needs to be beyond anything previously done within the grounds of the criminal justice system. She went on to say, ‘We need a practical and visible commissioner who can work with specialist services, local commissioners, policy makers and crucially with survivors. The commissioner needs to have both the legitimacy and resources to drive forward change.’
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