What You Don’t Know About Domestic Abuse And Stalking Can Kill You Briefing for MPs ahead of the second reading of the Domestic Abuse Bill, April 28 2020
There are no other crimes that are as predictable and preventable as stalking and domestic homicides. Yet, little is done proactively to target the offenders.
There are no other crimes where serial offenders are not proactively identified and targeted by police. Yet, domestic abusers and stalkers are allowed to act with impunity.
There are no others crime where the police response can make matters worse. Yet, this is true of domestic abuse and stalking.
There are no other crimes where victims are routinely told to change their behaviour including to change their phone number, go into hiding in a refuge and or move home/jobs etc as if this, and this alone, will stop the perpetrator’s behaviour. Yet this is true of domestic abuse and stalking.
And yet the most dangerous place for a woman is in the home.
In the UK, on average 138 women are murdered each year at the hands of an abusive male (ex)partner, most of whom are serial.
I highlighted the urgent need for serial abusers to be proactively identified, tracked and managed using ViSOR and the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements in my 2003 Metropolitan Police Service report entitled Findings from the Multi-agency Domestic Homicide Reviews and again in my 2004 report Getting Away With It: A Profile of the Sexual and Serious Offenders.
Since then some 2346 women and countless children have been brutally murdered.
Some perpetrators murdered more than one woman, and some have abused six victims or more. For example, there were 15 other women in Zoe Dronfield’s case and 13 in Shana Grice’s case.
Why is this being allowed to continue?
If that’s not enough, on average it costs around £1.54-£2m) to investigate a murder.
Thousands of lives are taken and destroyed, and, it’s a huge financial cost to society.
With domestic murders at a five year high it’s evident that this reactive approach is not only very costly, it doesn’t work and leaves women and children unprotected.
Since lockdown began 16 women and four children have been murdered.
If this isn’t a wake-up call, I don’t know what is.
The time to act is now.
The Domestic Abuse Bill had it’s second reading on April 28 2020.
The Bill was hailed as pioneering and world leading by former Prime Minister Theresa May. However, the current draft Domestic Abuse Bill is neither of those things.
It fails to ring fence funding for life saving specialist services who work with victims and it fails to include any provision around domestic abuse perpetrators or stalkers. This is not just a gap, it is a massive chasm putting women and girls more at risk.
Currently only 1% of perpetrators receive an intervention. How can this be right?
We cannot keep doing the same thing – expecting services to run on a shoestring, tweaking definitions and laws around the margins and allowing offenders to act with impunity – and expect to have any real impact on women’s safety and the safety of their children.
An urgent cultural and systems shift is now needed where we focus on the problem – the perpetrators. Clear and consistent messages and action must be taken to stop them from abusing and murdering women and children.
There must be no safe houses for abusers. Perpetrators must be focused upon. It will save lives and money. Women’s lives matter. It’s time for change.
How you can help:
Laura Richards April 27 2020
Founder, Paladin National Stalking Advocacy Service