Joint letter to the Home Secretary to express deep concerns about new research into domestic abuse and terrorism
Over 30 violence against women and girls organisations and leading academics have written to the Home Secretary to express deep concerns that the Home Office and Counter Terrorism Police, as part of the Prevent strategy, are seeking to research the ‘links between suspects of domestic abuse and extreme views, which can manifest into terrorism’.
Signatories to the letter question why the government are seeking to focus on tackling domestic abuse – which is driven by inequality between men and women in society and affects women across all across ages, classes, race and ethnic groups – as part of their counter-terrorism agenda. The set out how women’s safety and experiences of violence have long been used as a means to justify racist action – with threats to women used to pursue state intervention, whilst the root causes of violence against women go unchallenged.
Signatories to the letter express deep concerns that this approach seeks to give the government’s counter terrorism strategy legitimacy by focusing on ‘safeguarding’ and tackling domestic abuse. They highlight systemic problems with the Prevent strategy, which has been heavily criticised for its weak evidence base, which focuses on radicalisation and terrorism as a result of religion and ideology – rather than social, economic and political factors. It has fuelled the surveillance and over-policing of black and minoritised communities and, as the UN Special Rapporteur on Racism has made clear, the enforcement of the Prevent duty by teachers, professors, doctors and other professionals has had ‘horrific consequences’. VAWG organisations led ‘by and for’ black and minoritised women have also documented the racism and severe harm that Prevent has had on the women they support.
The letter calls on the Home Secretary to close this programme of work immediately and focus on tackling the root causes of domestic abuse and other forms of violence against women.
Read the joint letter here: Letter to Home Secretary – Prevent, Domestic Abuse & Extremism