SafeLives responds to government consultation on the Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill

8th March 2018

'No more bin bags in the middle of the night'

As Government launches a public consultation in an effort to improve responses to domestic abuse, charity SafeLives calls for radical ambition to end the problem, for good.

On International Women's Day 2018, domestic abuse charity SafeLives calls for radical transformation in how we all think about and respond to an issue that still affects one in four women in her lifetime. As the Government publishes consultation on its flagship legislation, strongly endorsed by the Prime Minister herself, SafeLives calls for every one of us to be ambitious in bringing an end to the problem, so all girls and women can live safe lives.

Suzanne Jacob OBE, Chief Executive of SafeLives said:

"We're well into the 21st century but it's still common for women to be fleeing their home with their children and a bin bag full of their belongings. The Government is opening up a national conversation about abuse - let's really have that conversation, not settling for piecemeal solutions but determinedly pursuing change in our thinking and our actions"

This means shining a light on things we still don't want to acknowledge; namely what goes on in our most personal, intimate relationships, often behind closed doors. Talking about the fact that if you're a teenager, disabled, in a same sex relationship or from an ethnic minority, you're less likely to get support and less likely to get justice. That if you're a wealthy white woman in the home counties, people still say it couldn't happen to you.

Jacob carries on "We welcome the Government's continued focus on domestic abuse and their recognition of it still being an endemic part of British society. A truly ambitious goal would be that all girls and women, no matter what front door they live behind, can have a safe relationship and home. What it will take to achieve this is i) comprehensive support for all victims/survivors, whether they seek it out at school, work, hospital, their community or elsewhere ii) relentless focus on understanding not 'why she doesn't leave', but 'why he doesn't stop', creating solutions that change or constrain harmful behaviour iii) support for children and young people that recognises the particular risks to them developing safe and well"

The Government has proposed there will be a domestic violence and abuse commissioner. That new commissioner should be given the access and platform they need to hold us all to account for radical change in our society.This is a unique moment. Government is listening. Survivors are speaking up in increasing numbers. The evidence is crystal clear. Let's grab the opportunity with both hands, so those bin bags in the middle of the night are consigned to the dustbin of history, once and for all.

Suzanne Jacob OBE, Chief Executive, SafeLives


Head of Comms, SafeLives, Penny East penny.east@safelives.org.uk

07818 593562



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, nearly two million people experience domestic abuse. 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.

Our data has found

  • 85% of victims seek help from professionals at least five times before receiving effective response
  • 1 in 5 victims do not call the police
  • 100,000 women and 130,000 children are at risk of murder or serious harm right now
  • Fewer than 1% of perpetrators receive any specialist intervention to change
  • Many perpetrators have up to six victims in their lifetime.