“Victims of domestic abuse should not be part of a police force postcode lottery”:
Women’s Aid response to HMIC domestic abuse report

Monday 14th December 2015

Women’s Aid responds to HMIC domestic abuse report by calling for:

  • Good quality domestic abuse training (informed by specialist domestic abuse services) to be undertaken by all police forces
  • Police forces to ensure perpetrators are held accountable for their abuse
  • Police forces to supply information to the Femicide Census
  • Breach of Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) to be criminalised
  • Online contact from a perpetrator to a victim to be an automatic breach of a DVPO

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:

“We welcome the progress that has been made in the police response to domestic abuse. There has been improvement, and Women’s Aid is pleased to see this.

“However, it is not a universal improvement across all police forces. There is a marked difference between the forces that have officers that are competent and committed in their response to domestic abuse, and those that do not. Victims of domestic abuse should not be part of a police force postcode lottery. All police forces need to be able to respond effectively to domestic abuse.

“To do this, Women’s Aid recommends that all police forces undertake good quality domestic abuse training, informed by specialist domestic abuse services. This will create a consistent and unified approach to domestic abuse across all police forces.

“The 2014 Women’s Aid Annual Survey found that, for nearly a quarter (24%) of domestic abuse service users whose abuse had been reported to the police, no action was taken. The report reflects this by showing that the police need to do more to hold perpetrators of domestic abuse to account. Without this, we will never see a reduction in domestic abuse, because there is no deterrent to dangerous perpetrators. Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) and other orders are there to protect victims. We urge police forces to make use of them, and enforce them properly.

“In addition, we call again for there to be criminal sanctions for the breach of DVPOs. Without criminal sanctions, the legislation designed to protect the victim is undermined if a DVPO is breached – as is the victim. We also want online contact to be a standard breach of a DVPO, and not just at the judge’s discretion. Online contact does not automatically count as a breach of a DVPO at the moment, meaning that a perpetrator can continue to abuse and harass his victim online with impunity.

“Finally, we support the report’s recommendation that police forces supply information to the Femicide Census, developed by Women’s Aid and Karen Ingala Smith as a learning and prevention tool. By supplying information to the Census, the police will help build a clearer picture of male violence towards women, and will be able to use the Census to help keep women and children safe.

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© 2015 Women's Aid Federation of England – Women’s Aid is a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 3171880.

Women’s Aid is a registered charity in England No. 1054154

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