Charities and women’s rights organisations call on the Prime Minister to deliver the Domestic Abuse Bill
Thursday 5th September 2019
Charities and women’s rights organisations, including Women’s Aid, Imkaan and the Centre for Women’s Justice have written to the Prime Minister seeking an assurance that the Domestic Abuse Bill will not be dropped amidst the current political turmoil.
The letter highlights that over the past two years survivors have shared their traumatic experiences and spent significant time and effort in campaigning for this new law. It also notes that the Domestic Abuse Bill has already faced numerous delays since it was introduced in 2017.
The 50 signatories include domestic abuse charities, children charities, academics and human rights organisations who urge the PM to make a clear public commitment to delivering the Bill within the next parliamentary session.
Nicki Norman, Acting Co-Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:
“As the political agenda and parliamentary timetable changes by the minute, we are seeking an assurance that the government will deliver the domestic abuse bill. Whatever happens next, the Prime Minister must confirm that protecting the rights and safety of survivors is a priority.
Over two years, thousands of survivors have bravely shared their experiences of domestic abuse with the government and fought to improve support for women and children. They must not be betrayed.”
The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP
10 Downing Street
5 September 2019
Dear Prime Minister,
We are writing to seek assurance that vital legislation to protect survivors of domestic abuse remains a priority for the government.
The Domestic Abuse Bill is a pivotal moment. Crucially, it will enable the UK Government to ratify the Istanbul Convention, the landmark international treaty for preventing and combating violence against women. We were pleased to hear recent assurances from your Home Secretary that the Bill must remain part of the government’s domestic agenda, but in light of the decision to prorogue parliament we are writing to seek direct confirmation that your government will prioritise the passing of this Bill in the months ahead.
Over the past two years survivors, frontline specialist services, parliamentarians and the organisations listed below have provided significant expertise to the development of this legislation to ensure it achieves its full potential. Through written consultation, focus groups, events and the pre-legislative scrutiny committee, survivors have shared their lived experiences of domestic abuse, which can be highly traumatic, with your government. It is crucial that their courage and determination to improve legal protection for women and children in the future is listened to and acted on.
The Bill has already suffered a number of delays, and survivors cannot wait any longer for critical protections and support. We are clear that the Domestic Abuse Bill must continue its passage through parliament and deliver the reforms that survivors are calling for – from long-term housing and fully funded specialist services for all survivors of abuse, to a safe child contact and family court system. It is of course essential that the Bill provides equal protection and support for all victims, without discrimination on any ground – including immigration status.
This is urgent work, and we are committed to working with your government to protect and support survivors and their children, and towards the societal shifts we need to end domestic abuse. We hope to hear from you as soon as possible with your assurance that Domestic Abuse Bill remains a priority for your government and will continue its progress within the next parliamentary session.
Nicki Norman, Co-Chief Executive, Women’s Aid
Baljit Banga, Executive Director, Imkaan
Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive, Refuge
Suzanne Jacob, Chief Executive Officer, SafeLives
Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, Director, Surviving Economic Abuse
Pragna Patel, Director, Southall Black Sisters
Andrea Simon, Head of Public Affairs, End Violence Against Women Coalition
Gisela Valle, Director, Latin American Women’s Rights Service
Nik Noone, Chief Executive Officer, Galop
Jo Todd, Chief Executive Officer, Respect
Eleri Butler, Chief Executive Officer, Welsh Women’s Aid
Donna Covey, Chief Executive, AVA (Against Violence and Abuse)
Diana Nammi, Executive Director, IKWRO
Jemima Olchawski, Chief Executive, Agenda
Nicole Jacob, Chief Executive Officer, Standing Together Against Domestic Violence
Mary Mason, Chief Executive Officer, Solace Women’s Aid
Frank Mullane, Director, Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse
Zlakha Ahmed, Chief Executive, Apna Haq
Julie Bentley, Chief Executive, Action for Children
Mark Russell, Chief Executive Officer, The Children’s Society
Lyndsey Dearlove, Head, UK SAYS NO MORE
Harriet Wistrich, Director, Centre for Women’s Justice
David Jamieson, Police and Crime Commissioner, West Midlands
Paul Streets OBE, Chief Executive, Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales
Reham Khan, Founder, Reham Khan Foundation
Jane Gordon, Legal Director, Sisters For Change
Mandip Ghai, Senior Legal Officer, Rights of Women
Robyn Andréo-Boosey, Director, IC Change campaign
Cath Dovey, Chair, Rosa Fund
Clare Collier, Advocacy Director, Liberty
Gemma Braithwaite, Chief Officer, DIAS Domestic Violence Centre
Shigufta Khan, Chief Executive Officer, Blackburn & Darwen District Without Abuse
Jag Dhadwal, Director of Finance, ASSIST Trauma Care
Naz Ghodrati, Chief Executive Officer, Stockport Without Abuse
Christine Morgan, Chief Executive Officer, Eve
Richinda Taylor, Chief Executive, Eva Women’s Aid
Cathy Lunt, General Manager, West Cornwall Women’s Aid
Susan Wallis, Chief Executive Officer, North Devon Against Domestic Abuse
Professor Jane Callaghan, Director Child Wellbeing & Protection, University of Stirling
Dr Emma Katz, Senior Lecturer in Childhood and Youth, Liverpool Hope University
Hannah Shead, Chief Executive Officer, Trevi House
Dr Liza Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, SATEDA
Jacqui Nasuh, Project Manager, Merseyside Domestic Violence Service
Joyce Simon, Manager, Anah Project
Ursula Lindenberg, Director, VOICES
Maureen Storey, Director, Vida Sheffield
Clare Wiggett, Director, Sheffield Women’s Aid
Pam Whittle, Services Manager, Crossroads Derbyshire
Samantha Fisher, Chief Executive Officer, TDAS (Trafford Domestic Abuse Services)
Jo Tunnard, Lead Trustee, Noel Buxton Trust
Charlotte Kneer, Chief Executive Officer, Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid
Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, Home Secretary
Rt Hon Robert Buckland MP, Secretary of State for Justice
If you are worried that your partner, or that of a friend or family member, is controlling and abusive, you can contact the Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge, on 0800 2000 247 or visit www.womensaid.org.uk
For more information, please contact the Women’s Aid press office: 020 7566 2511 / [email protected]