HMIC Report into Domestic Abuse
The HMIC report into domestic abuse has been released today - and it contains few surprises to those working within the violence against women sector.
Police forces fail when responding to domestic abuse - in fact, 4 forces have failed so badly that they have been asked to report separately in order to address their issues:
Does this report tell us anything we didn't already know? It doesn't seem so. Women's services have been reporting on this issue for a number of years, repeatedly calling for a public inquiry, for increased funding, for those in power to listen to the needs of victim-survivors.
We now have Theresa May 'taking charge' - what will this actually mean? We hope it means that the legal aid cut will be reversed. We hope it means the impact of austerity on women will be acknowledged; especially the impact on women who are denied recourse to public funds. We hope it will mean women's services will be adequately and appropriately funded. We hope it will mean young people will be given statutory sex & relationships education. We hope she will name the issue as men's violence against women. We hope she will accept that for some women, the criminal justice route isn't appropriate and that is an acceptable choice; one that will not limit them accessing support services.
We expect that our hopes will remain just that - hopes. Because without adequate funding, resources, training and a change in culture within the police, this report will continue the current trend - that domestic abuse is a priority only on paper.