Women’s Aid responded to the joint policing report: A duty to protect
24th August 2021: Farah Nazeer, Chief Executive at Women’s Aid has responded to the joint policing report, which identified ‘worryingly low’ levels of confidence in the police among female victims published:
“This report confirms what survivors have long been telling us – that there remains a postcode lottery in how police forces are protecting women who are experiencing domestic abuse and other forms of male violence.
It takes huge strength for a survivor to build up the courage to report domestic abuse to the police, so it is vital that she gets an effective response the first time she calls out for help.
Far too often women tell us that the response they get from the police is inconsistent and fails to keep them safe. This is not good enough – survivors deserve much better.
The report shows yet again that the dramatic drop in the use of bail by police forces is having serious impacts on survivor safety. We are still awaiting the reforms that are urgently needed to protect survivors whilst investigations are ongoing.
The report finds confusion and complexity with the current system of orders that can be used to protect women experiencing domestic abuse, and a worrying underuse of Domestic Violence Protection Orders and Notices. Unless proper and robust lessons are learnt by the Home Office and police forces, we are concerned that the new Domestic Abuse Protection Orders, which are set to be piloted following the Domestic Abuse Act will only make this confused system worse.
It is also essential that the College of Policing Domestic Abuse Matters training continues to be rolled out across all forces. This specialist training programme, which Women’s Aid is licensed to deliver, ensures that frontline officers and staff understand the impacts of domestic abuse and why protective measures can be life-saving. However, in order to sustain the application of what is learnt on the programme, ongoing monitoring and further development is necessary. If this doesn’t happen then drift occurs and people go back to the old ways of working. Sustainable investment in training and culture change on domestic abuse and VAWG in forces makes a real difference to the response, and today’s report shows just how urgently this is still needed.”