Refuge responds to the latest HMIC report on police response to domestic violence
Sandra Horley, CBE, chief executive of Refuge says: “HMICFRS report makes for very grim reading. Refuge is deeply concerned that despite an abundance of good intentions and training initiatives, little appears to have changed for victims of domestic abuse. We are particularly worried to discover that there has been a fall in the number of arrests made and referrals to the Crown Prosecution Service. It is abundantly clear that the current policy of police discretion in cases of domestic violence is not working and that the abuse of women is still not being taken seriously by the police. Judgemental, negative and sexist attitudes towards abused women are deeply entrenched in police culture and society as a whole. It is clear we need massive radical change.
“Refuge, like the police, has experienced an increase in demand without a corresponding increase in resources. We are overstretched and need additional support for services including the national domestic violence helpline which is under threat. In spite of this, we continue to provide a safe, compassionate and responsive service to 6000 women and children on any given day. These victims need and deserve police protection. This should not be discretionary.
“Refuge has been calling for a mandatory arrest and charge policy where there are reasonable grounds in cases of domestic violence, as in Canada.
“It is timely that the Government is introducing a new domestic violence Bill. It is crucial that violence against women and girls is made explicit on the face of the Bill and that it is finally treated with the seriousness that it deserves.
“Refuge is pleased that the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, is continuing to bring national oversight to the issue of police response to domestic violence
A spokesperson is available for comment. For more information and to arrange an interview please contact firstname.lastname@example.org 0207 395 7731 | 07970 894240 (out of hours)
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