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05/03/2014

Campaign Launches For New Law That Criminalises Domestic Violence

Women's Aid is currently working in partnership with Sara Charlton Charitable Foundation and Paladin to campaign for a new law that criminalises domestic violence.

On Wednesday 5th March 2014 the Campaign released a report calling for the Government to close gaps in the law around domestic violence which allow perpetrators to avoid prosecution for their abusive behaviour.

The Campaign urges the reforms in light of a survey demonstrating the inability of the current system to respond appropriately to intimate partner violence.

The survey revealed :

• 88% said the criminal justice system didn’t take psychological harm into account and 94% felt that mental cruelty can sometimes be worse than physical violence

• 57% who reported to police reported more than three instances of domestic violence, but 81% said the criminal justice system did not take any pattern of abuse into account

• 98% of victims felt that reform of the law and practice around domestic violence is needed

• 100% felt that the police, Crime Prosecution Service, Judges and Magistrates should have to complete mandatory training into the dynamics and impact of domestic violence.

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women's Aid said: "These survey results clearly reflect what our member services have been telling us for a long time: that the criminal justice focus on individual incidents of physical violence cannot reflect the ongoing psychological harm caused by coercive control in intimate relationships.

"We welcome the Government’s recognition of coercive control in the Home Office definition of domestic violence, and the renewed focus Parliament is giving to this issue. Currently two women a week die at the hands of a partner or ex-partner; the next step to preventing these deaths is reform to allow the Criminal Justice System to take account of patterns of controlling and violent behaviour."

(CD)

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