Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

*Press Release* The Campaign Asking David Ruffley to Resign from Parliament

We are continuing in our campaign, started by Rev. Frances Ward and the Fawcett Society of Bury St. Edmunds, asking David Ruffley to resign from parliament following his caution for common assault against a former partner in March of this year. Standing down from election next year is simply not sufficient. Domestic violence is a serious crime and it is simply not treated as such by the criminal justice system, the media or society. Ruffley, and several members of his local Conservative associations', refusal to acknowledge that physical violence against a current or former partner is domestic violence is extremely concerning. Statements made by Bernard Sergant and Andrew Speed reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of domestic violence.

The Home Office definition of domestic violence states:

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:

  • physical
  • psychological
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

This is the reality of domestic violence in the UK:

  • only 35% of incidents of violence are reported to the police
  • the police receive one report of domestic violence every minute
  • domestic violence costs the UK economy £23 billion a year
  • A recent EU study suggests that 1 in 3 women experience domestic violence in their lifetime
  • Domestic violence has the highest repeated crime rate
  • 25% of women who experience domestic violence have never lived with the perpetrator
  • 2 women a week are murdered in the UK by current or former partners

The following changes are necessary in order to create a major societal shift to recognise the severity of domestic violence:

1. Mandatory specialist training in domestic and sexual violence and abuse for all politicians and members of their local associations. This campaign was started by EVB.

2. Mandatory training for all front line staff working in the civil service, NHS, and local councils.

3. A fundamental change in the law to recognise that domestic violence is not a series of "incidents" but a pattern of coercive control which is underpinned by threats or acts of physical and sexual violence against either the partner or children. This campaign is the joint work of Women's Aid, Paladin, and the Sara Charlton Foundation.

3. Removal of immunity from police forces in relation to systemic failures in cases of domestic violence. This campaign is the joint work of Refuge and Liberty.

David Ruffley must resign from parliament effective immediately due to his caution for common assault. It is simply untenable for a man who has accepted legal responsibility for assaulting a former partner to be allowed to vote on policies which have a direct impact on the health and safety of survivors of domestic violence.


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