Domestic abuse charity welcomes refresh of UK Government’s Ending Violence Against Women and Girls strategy

Today the UK Government publishes a refresh of its 2016-20 Violence Against Women and Girls strategy. We welcome the new commitments included and will continue to work with the Government to ensure that this strategy – alongside the forthcoming Domestic Abuse Bill – helps to make victims of domestic abuse and their children safer.

The Government has recognised that provision of specialist domestic abuse services remains patchy – access to support for survivors should never be a postcode lottery. It also increasingly recognises the need to identify and stop harmful behaviours on the part of those who use abuse. This is welcome and we hope to see this develop further and faster.

The commitment to carry out a review of the criminal justice response to rape and serious sexual offence cases is an important one. We know that domestic abuse and sexual violence often go hand in hand – more than a quarter of victims of domestic abuse report experiencing sexual violence – and that too many survivors still struggle to access justice. This is a long-running problem, and much more radical action than we have seen in the past will be needed to improve confidence.

The proposed awareness raising work with online dating services has the potential to reach a wide audience. Our lives are increasingly led online, including our relationships, and we know that perpetrators of abuse use technology to stalk, harass, groom and control. Telling victims to simply ‘stay offline’ is unacceptable, and we welcome initiatives to reach people where they already are – in online spaces. Safety must always be the top priority, and we look forward to hearing more about the direction of this work.

Health colleagues are falling behind other sectors in recognising and responding to the way in which abuse impacts people. We welcome the commitment to the effective training of healthcare professionals. Four out of five victims never call the police, but many will visit their GP as a result of the abuse they’re experiencing. Alongside the commitment to training, we would welcome a focus on NHS leadership, and more use of joint funding initiatives, to really solidify the health sector’s role in preventing, stopping, and supporting recovery from, all abusive situations.

Read the Report

This page is about the Themis research project and its final report, A Cry for Health. In November 2012, Themis was launched as the first research project of its kind in the UK.

A Cry for Health report

You may also be interested in

Domestic Abuse Act

Find out more about the four-year journey to ensure this milestone legislation was a true leap forward for domestic abuse survivors and frontline services.

VAWG strategy: response

SafeLives' response to the government’s consultation on its Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) strategy 2021.