Women’s Aid responds to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services report on the police response to domestic abuse
Tuesday 14th November 2017
Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:
“It is vital that survivors are listened to, believed and supported when they report domestic abuse to the police. Today’s Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) report shows that police leaders have prioritised transforming the response to domestic abuse, but there is still work to be done.
“It takes a lot of strength and resolve for a woman to build up the courage to report domestic abuse to the police. It is therefore vital that she gets an effective response the first time she calls out for help. Training and investment in some police force areas has transformed their response, but today’s report shows that many still need improvement. There are huge variations between forces in how the police use their powers to hold perpetrators to account and keep victims safe, including a postcode lottery when it comes to arresting perpetrators of domestic abuse.
“The level of domestic abuse recorded by the police has increased by 60% in less than three years, according to today’s report, and this is only set to rise as more survivors have to courage to speak out. It is clear that forces are struggling to cope and it is devastating to see dangerous responses when survivors have called out for help, such as assessing risk over the phone and downgrading the severity of cases to justify a slower response time. This is unacceptable. Such practices threaten to put more women and children’s lives at risk.
“The Government’s landmark Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill promises to transform our national response to domestic abuse and ensure more victims have the courage to speak out. This new law must be underpinned by sufficient resources both for statutory agencies, such as the police, and specialist domestic abuse services, including refuges which are currently under threat by proposed funding reforms. Without a sustainable long-term funding solution for these life-saving services, the lives of women and children trying to escape domestic abuse will be put at risk. A successful police and criminal justice response to domestic abuse must both hold perpetrators accountable and keep women and children safe.”
You can access the HMICFRS report online here.
For further information please contact the Women’s Aid press office: [email protected]