SafeLives welcomes 'major overhaul' of domestic abuse legislation
17th February 2017
The Prime Minister has announced a major overhaul of domestic abuse legislation. At SafeLives, we welcome this commitment and focus; as although we know there has been progress made, we know the vast majority of victims of domestic abuse do not get the response they deserve.
Any new legislation needs to improve this response to make individuals, families and children safe; it must also hold perpetrators to account to protect victims today and prevent further victims tomorrow. We know that fewer than 1% of perpetrators currently get any intervention to address their behaviour.
The Prime's Minister's commitment needs to shine a light on the damage caused by domestic abuse; in relation to mental health, children's safety, poverty, substance misuse and physical health. Addressing domestic abuse must become a national priority because it causes such profound and long-lasting harm.
Any new legislation and action needs to be informed by victims and survivors of domestic abuse and their experiences of what does and does not work in the current system. At SafeLives, we will do everything we can, working with victims and survivors of domestic abuse, to help this initiative achieve tangible change.
SafeLives’ Chief Executive, Diana Barran, said: "We welcome the Prime Minister’s personal commitment to tackle this terrible crime that impacts so many victims of domestic abuse every year. Domestic abuse is not inevitable, or acceptable, and at SafeLives, we look forward to working with the Government to ensure that the legislation achieves its goal: to protect victims and children as early as possible and hold perpetrators to account. This news will be most welcomed by the many victims and survivors who today feel let down by the response they receive.”
We are a national charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, for good. We combine insight from services, survivors and statistics to support people to become safe, well and rebuild their lives. Since 2005, SafeLives has worked with organisations across the country to transform the response to domestic abuse, with over 60,000 victims at highest risk of murder or serious harm now receiving co-ordinated support annually.
No one should live in fear. It is not acceptable, not inevitable, and together – we can make it stop.
Every year, two million people experience domestic abuse. There are 100,000 people at risk of being murdered or seriously harmed; 130,000 children live in those households. For every person being abused, there is someone else responsible for that abuse: the perpetrator. And all too often, children are in the home and living with the impact.
Domestic abuse affects us all; it thrives on being hidden behind closed doors. We must make it everybody’s business.
What would you want for your best friend?
· Help made available wherever you need it – whether from the police, your GP or hospital, or where you live
· Early, consistent and tailored support that makes them safe and meets their needs
· The choice to stay safely in their own home and community
· The perpetrator challenged to change and held to account.
· A response that reflects the fundamental connection between the experience of adults and their children
· Agencies work together to meet the practical needs that people have, providing help on areas such as housing, money and access to justice
We want this for each and every person living with abuse. Wherever they live, whoever they are.