House of Commons,
Dear [MP’s name],
I am your constituent and I’m writing to you about the Domestic Abuse Bill that is going through Parliament at the moment. I want to ensure serial domestic violence perpetrators and stalkers are proactively identified, assessed and managed just like sex offenders. The Domestic Abuse Bill presents an opportunity to create real change.
The reason this issue concerns me is because many women and girls have been abused, terrorised and murdered over the years, and it is getting worse.
Domestic abuse and stalking are the only crimes where the serial abuser is not proactively identified and managed. Why?
Hollie Gazzard was stalked and murdered by Asher Maslin. He was involved in 24 previous violent offences, three on Hollie, 12 on an ex-partner, three on his mother, four on others. Why was Hollie left at risk?
Kerri McAuley was stalked and murdered by Joe Storey. He broke every bone in her face. When she left him he bombarded her with 177 calls. He had many convictions for abusing many women since the age of 14. Two women had taken out restraining orders. Why were the risks not joined up?
Linzi Ashton was raped, strangled and murdered by Michael Cope. He strangled two previous partners and his repeat pattern of abuse towards women was not joined up. Why not?
Justene Reece took her own life. Nicholas Allen coercively controlled Justene and stalked her relentlessly when she left him. She “ran out of fight.” Allen had been convicted for assault and harassment of other women. None of this was joined up. He was charged with coercive control, stalking, and manslaughter after she died. Why?
Women are being murdered at pandemic rates. Currently police rely on victims to report crimes and often it is the victims who are forced to modify and change their behaviour, flee their homes and disappear themselves in order to stay safe. Why should they? This doesn’t happen with any other crime. Why is the focus not on the perpetrator and their behaviour?
We need a cultural shift through law to ensure the perpetrator is the focus and that they must change their behaviour and take responsibility. Serial offenders should be the ones who are tracked, supervised and managed and not the victim.
The problem is widespread and this must be placed on a national and statutory footing.
Offenders move and travel and all police services, probation and the prison service as well other agencies including specialist domestic abuse and stalking services should work together to better protect women and girls.
Serial domestic abusers and stalkers should be included on the Violent and Sex Offenders Register and managed via the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements. The system already exists but should be enhanced to ensure join up of intelligence and information.
With MAPPA, the prison and probation service lead and chair meetings as well as police, which is why MAPPA is the correct forum, however, it must be enhanced to MAPPA+.
MAPPA+ would include other specialist domestic violence agencies including specialist caseworkers like Independent Domestic Violence Advisers and Caseworkers and stalking services including Independent Stalking Advocacy Caseworkers must be invited to attend, as they hold the specialist knowledge about the dynamics of coercive control and stalking.
How would MAPPA+ work in practice?
A new category under MAPPA+ should be introduced: Category 4 Serial and Serious Harm Domestic Violence and Stalking Perpetrators.
Police, Probation and Prison must proactively identify serial perpetrators under this new Category 4 and co-ordinate a risk management plan to engage, problem solve and/or target perpetrators.
Serial is defined as two or more victims where the perpetrator has been convicted for one domestic violence and/or stalking related offence, caution, acquittal or where orders exist including a Domestic Violence Protection Order, Stalking Protection Order, Restraining Order, Non-Molestation Order, Criminal Behaviour Order and/or Violent Offender Order. The category must also include those thought to be at risk of offending.
These orders must be used along with clear positive obligations just like Risk of Sexual Harm Orders are used for sex offenders. Positive obligations would be placed on a perpetrator including:
1. They must attend a treatment programme;
2. If they change their name, they must notify police;
3. If they move they must notify police;
4. If they go abroad they must notify police;
5. If they start a new relationship, they must notify police.
A Serial Priority Perpetrator Caseworker would be required in every area to work across Police and partner agencies, funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner. They would have responsibility for collating and assessing cases and selecting them to be heard at MAPPP+.
This will change the culture, hold violent men to account and responsible for their behaviour and it will save lives by protecting women, ensuring that it is the perpetrators who are pro-actively monitored and managed.
This issue affects me because……. [Say something here that describes why this affects you and why you are supportive of the campaign, including if you or a family member has been affected by stalking or domestic abuse.]
Just under 190, 000 people have signed the petition
Please raise my concerns by asking questions in Parliament about why serial stalkers and domestic violence perpetrators are not being tracked, managed and supervised routinely like sex offenders are and support the amendment in the Domestic Abuse Bill.
If you would like further information on these issues, click the link
I would be very grateful to know if you will be voting in favour of New Clause 49 for serial and serious domestic violence perpetrators and stalkers to be tracked to prevent further abuse. The amendment was tabled by Yvette Cooper MP, Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee and has the support of Caroline Nokes MP, Chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, Harriet Harman MP, Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights and Rosie Duffield MP. Please add your name in support.
You can contact me at [email] or [telephone].
Thank you for your help with this matter, I look forward to your response.