Durham PCC joins Women’s Aid in call for new domestic violence law
David Cameron’s commitment last week to look into creating a separate offence of domestic violence has been welcomed by the Durham Police and Crime Commissioner, Ron Hogg. The statement has come at a time when Yvette Cooper, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, raised concern at the decrease in domestic and sexual violence prosecutions despite the rise in reported offences.
Mr Hogg and major national charity Women’s Aid are committed to working in partnership to highlight and tackle the issue of domestic abuse.
Commenting on the issue, Mr Hogg said:
“Tackling the insidious crime of domestic abuse has always been a difficult task for police forces. Too often, the meaningful intervention occurs only after a case of extreme violence.
By creating a law related to domestic abuse more holistically, we can recognise the evils of coercive and controlling behaviour in a relationship before they inevitably explode into violence. This would offer an invaluable new tool to the police armoury when dealing with such situations.
As women represent the vast majority of victims, I am compelled to act on their struggle by one of my key policing priorities - to end violence against women and girls.
Working with partners such as Women’s Aid, who already do so much for these victims, helps us contribute to the wider picture. This is an issue that can and should not be tolerated in our society, and it is our duty to work together to improve our response.”
Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid added:
“We welcome PCC Hogg’s commitment to ensuring the law is up to the task of supporting women experiencing domestic violence.
Two people every minute contact the police about domestic violence, and as Mr Hogg highlights, the overwhelming majority of victims are women.
However, the criminal justice focus on individual incidents of physical violence cannot reflect the ongoing psychological harm caused by the coercive control which is central to domestic violence.
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.
We hope that together we can create a legislative change which will go some way to giving survivors full confidence in the criminal justice system.”
Posted on Friday 1st August 2014