Steps in the right direction with the Domestic Abuse Bill but women and children will still be left unprotected and at risk

It’s great to hear about progress today with the Government announcements that post separation abuse will be addressed within the Domestic Abuse Bill largely thanks to the work of Surviving Economic Abuse and others. Abuse does not end when the relationship does. In fact, we know that it escalates and often this is the time women are murdered.

Additionally, non-fatal strangulation will become a crime. Too often I have seen attacks on women who were almost killed categorised as common assault by police. Strangulation is a high risk factor to serious harm and femicide. We know from research that strangulation increases the harm of femicide sevenfold, which is why it is included in the DASH Risk Identification, Assessment and Management Model. Well done to Rachel Williams, Centre for Women’s Justice and others who campaigned so hard to make this happen.

Whilst these are all steps in the right direction there still remains a complete lack of focus on perpetrators in the Domestic Abuse Bill – the men who cause the terror and violence. Currently these men are allowed to act with impunity.

How can the Government be serious about protecting women and girls if there is no provision to proactively identify, assess or manage serial and repeat high risk and high harm domestic abusers and stalkers across England and Wales?

My research shows that 1 in 12 of domestic rapists rape inside and outside the home. Once a violent and controlling man leaves a partner, the violence doesn’t end. They find new partners to abuse. Many had extensive histories of abusing multiple women.

My most recent paper profiling 30 men who murdered their partners or ex-partners revealed that 28 of those men murdered 31 women and 8 children, 30 significantly harmed 58 more women and 15 children.

Almost 225, 000 have signed to petition for serial perpetrators and stalkers to be proactively identified, assessed and managed by police, prison and probation services. We urgently need a co-ordinated, national response targeted at those who create the harm, terror and violence – the perpetrators.

We must make abusive and violent men visible and accountable. You can sign the petition here.

The Domestic Abuse Bill presents a unique opportunity to create real change to better protect women and girls. We must not delay any further. Women and girls are paying with their lives

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