Whatever she says, Theresa May has failed victims of domestic violence – Sarah Champion
On Wednesday at PMQs Theresa May claimed that this government has a “very good record on domestic violence”. I’m not certain what record she is referring to, but it’s not one that I recognise.
In the United Kingdom, on average, two women are killed by their current partner or a former partner every week. Children lose their mother, a sibling loses their sister, a woman loses her life, at the hands of (in the main) male violence every three or so days.
Domestic violence and violence against women have increased rapidly between 2009 and 2014, pushing up overall levels of violent crime. Analysis of ONS crime statistics in England and Wales from 2009 onwards shows an increase in domestic violence and violence against women perpetrated by their acquaintances. Violence against women by strangers remains level, and violence against men continues to fall.
Simply put, women are bearing the brunt of violent crime in England and Wales, and it is being carried out against them by the people who are closest to them. This doesn’t sound like a record the prime minister should be proud of.
As well as making baseless claims of success, this government has chosen to pull the safety net from beneath the feet of women escaping violence. While Theresa May was home secretary, women’s services saw their funding shrink rapidly. Between 2010 and 2012, a third of local authority funding to domestic and sexual violence services was cut. The result? A third of all referrals to refuges are turned away.
Since 2010, we have lost 17% of specialist refuges in England. These safe havens are often run by survivors of domestic violence, who understand the dynamics of abuse in the different communities they work in. The impact on refuges for black and minority ethnic women in particular has been devastating. Specialist refuges simply cannot compete with the local authority tendering processes, which are forced to value cost-per-bed over all other criteria. ...
This article by Sarah Champion was first published in the Guardian on 8.9.16. You can find the full article here.
Inspired by our participation with the Write to End Violence Against Women awards organised by Zero Tolerance, we are now collecting examples of good journalism about domestic and sexual violence and abuse to make it clear that it is possible to write about DSVA without resorting to myths, misrepresentations, minimisation and victim blaming.
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