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Tackling violence against women and girls is a priority for new Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne, who has set out the government'’s ambition to end these 'terrible crimes' in his first speech on the issue.

The Minister told the Women Against Violence Europe Conference that he is determined to continue work to address the issue.

Jeremy Browne said: 'Violence against women is insidious and it is pervasive: in the UK one in four women will be the victim of domestic abuse over the course of their lifetime, and in the last year over 300,000 women were sexually assaulted and 60,000 women were raped.

'And behind each of those statistics is a woman or child whose life has been ruined. Violence against women has damaged our society for too long. It must stop.'

The Minister told delegates of ongoing work to address violence against women, including the ring-fencing of £40 million for vital services until 2015.

A major focus is being put on prevention as well as extra protection being offered to women. This includes the introduction of two new stalking offences, extending the definition of domestic violence and pilots of Domestic Violence Protection Orders and the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme.

The Minister also stressed that Government is working closely with a wide range of partners to ensure maximum support for women.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0.

Charity 4Children has issued a statement following the Government's announcement that it is broadening the definition of domestic violence in order to cover coercive control and under-18s for the first time.

Anne Longfield, Chief Executive of 4Children said:

“This proposal to broaden the definition of domestic violence will be welcomed throughout homes across the UK as it acknowledges that violence towards a partner can often encompass a variety of harms beyond the physical. However, there should be concern that these proposals may not have gone far enough by failing to encompass violence between other members of a family. Domestic violence is too often seen as partner on partner, but it far more complex than that, and needs wider definition.

“In 4Children’s Give Me Strength campaign report earlier this year, The Enemy Within, we unveiled a shocking - yet consistently under-reported - prevalence of violence within the family, including an increasing incidence of child on parent and inter-sibling violence.

“As a result, it is clear that Government’s must continue to take on a family approach to reducing family violence to recognise and respond to the damaging impact of both domestic and family violence on children, families and wider society.”

Domestic violence charity, Refuge, has claimed that proposed changes to benefit rules will lead to the closure of all of its refuge centres, reports the BBC. As a result, warns Refuge, thousands of victims of domestic violence will be at increased risk.

According to the BBC, the charity claims that two women a week die as a result of domestic violence, and this figures will rise if support services are forced to close. Similar concerns have also been raised by charity Women's Aid.

The charities are concerned about how Housing Benefit will be calculated when it it is incorporated within the new, combined benefit, Universal Credit, which is due to come into force next year.

According to the BBC, the Government has denied the claims and said that funding for refuges will continue to be available under the new benefit system.

A new research report commissioned by the Crown Prosecution Service suggests that domestic abuse victims who are supported by Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) and who report abuse to the police, are more likely to experience a cessation of abuse if a decision to charge the alleged offender is made.

The research was undertaken by the national domestic abuse charity Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse (CAADA) as part of its Insights outcomes measurement service.

The report shows that the proportion of victims experiencing a cessation of abuse increases at each stage of the criminal justice process. The most significant cessation of abuse occurs when a decision to prosecute an alleged offender has been made, with 72% of victims in this category reporting no further abuse once a charge is recorded.

The report demonstrates that:

  • In cases where there was a decision to prosecute, 62% of victims were suffering severe levels of violence at the point of intake to the IDVA service.
  • Whilst continuing to court did not have a further significant impact on cessation of abuse, a greater proportion of victims did report improvements in their feelings of safety, quality of life and confidence to access support following the continuation of a case to court.
  • In almost half (42%) of prosecutions, there was also a restraining order applied for and granted. At exit, those victims who were granted a restraining order were less likely to report severe physical abuse or jealous and controlling behaviours, and were more likely to experience a complete cessation of all abuse types.
  • The research also showed that Specialist Domestic Violence Courts (SDVC) achieved better outcomes than other courts, and that cases heard in an SDVC were more likely to result in a conviction.


The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme is being piloted by police in Gwent and Wiltshire.

The scheme gives women the right to ask the police whether a new or existing partner has a violent past. If police checks show that a person may be at risk of domestic violence from their partner, the police will consider disclosing the information.

Under the scheme women will have the right to ask the police whether a new or existing partner has a violent past. If police checks show that a person may be at risk of domestic violence from their partner, the police will consider disclosing the information.

The pilot will also look at how the police can proactively release information to protect a person from domestic violence where it is lawful, necessary and proportionate to do so.

Calls for the introduction of a national disclosure scheme gained momentum following the tragic case of Clare Wood, who was murdered by her former partner in Greater Manchester in 2009.  Her partner had three previous convictions under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

The pilot scheme follows a successful public consultation which received more than 250 responses from a wide range of high profile statutory and voluntary organisations.

The Association of Chief Police Officers' lead on domestic abuse, Chief Constable Carmel Napier, said: 'A key part of policing is to protect people from harm.  The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme is intended to empower people to make informed decisions to protect themselves and their children when getting involved with a new partner.

'It will also allow the police to act in the best interests of people they believe could be at risk of violence by sharing information of a partners' violent past.'

Peers in the House of Lords have voted through an amendment to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, which will help ensure that victims of domestic violence continue to receive legal aid on issues around divorce or separation, by extending the evidential criteria required to demonstrate that domestic violence has taken place.

The amendment was proposed by Baroness Scotland and supported by Baroness Butler-Sloss, the former President of the Family Division, among others. In one of three votes against the government on the first day of Report stage of the Bill, this amendment was carried by 238 votes to 201.

Speaking in response to the amendment, Resolution’s Chair, David Allison, said:

“We are pleased that Peers voted through an amendment which seeks to ensure victims of domestic violence continue to receive legal aid to assist in resolving issues arising on divorce or separation. The Government and MPs now need to take notice of this sensible move and uphold this important amendment when the Bill returns to the Commons.

“In addition, we were pleased to hear the Government will accept undertakings as evidence of domestic violence for the purposes of providing legal aid, regardless of what changes are made to the Bill. Many women who have been abused seek undertakings from their alleged abuser, with the oversight of the family court, as a way to protect themselves and their children, without needing to go through a traumatic trial.”


The Home Office has announced that twelve organisations that support male victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse will receive a share of £225,000.

These grants are just one of a range of actions the government is taking to tackle domestic violence. Overall, £28 million will be directed towards specialist domestic and sexual violence services over the next four years to help victims.

In October, the government ran a consultation on a national Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, known as ‘Clare’s Law’, and Domestic Violence Protection Orders are currently being piloted in three police force areas to stop offenders from contacting victims or returning to their home for up to 28 days.

National domestic violence charity Women’s Aid and national stalking charity Network for Surviving Stalking have launched a practical guide for victims of stalking.

‘Digital stalking: a guide to technology risks for victims’ is an important resource for all stalking victims, including the many survivors of domestic violence who are being stalked by an ex-partner. It explains the wide range of technological risks for those being stalked, including use of Spyware on personal computers, tracking devices on mobile phones and tracking of information through social networking sites.

With over 18% of women and 9% of men experiencing stalking since the age of 16, stalking affects a wide range of people. However, stalking by ex-partners accounts for the largest group of victims and women are most at risk from physical assault and fatal harm. 

The guidelines contain practical advice on how to reduce the risk of being stalked online. They can also be used for training organisations which deal with stalking and domestic violence cases, including the police and other key agencies.


Figures released by Sussex police have shown that incidents of domestic violence peaked on Boxing Day and New Years Day.

Over the Christmas period the force received 603 incident calls, an increase on the 578 received over the same period last year. Special patrols were set up under 'Operation Cranberry' to respond to these calls.

Detective Sergeant Daniel Dugan from the force's Protecting Vulnerable People team said; "This was the third year that we operated these force-wide patrols, anticipating that certain days would be particularly busy with calls for help, and again we were sadly proved correct.

"The increase over the holiday period is often down to higher alcohol consumption, combined with families spending more time than usual with each other. Relationships which are potentially abusive may come to a head at this time. Exactly why 26th December and 1st January should feature is not entirely clear but it should be borne in mind that those statistics do cover the period from midnight onwards each day.”

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is successfully prosecuting more cases than ever of offences involving violence against women and girls.

An alliance of organisations which represents the rights and needs of women, children, families and victims of domestic abuse and/or are engaged in the administration of family justice, has published a Manifesto for Family Justice, ahead of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Bill moving into Report Stage in the House of Commons.

Posted by on in Domestic Violence

Prime Minister David Cameron has highlighted the issue of forced marriage in a speech setting out proposals to tighten the immigration system in Britain.


A national meeting of the Family Bar, hosted by the Bar Council and the Family Law Bar Association (FLBA), has warned of proposals contained within the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, which will remove large areas of family law from the scope of legal aid.

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