WE respond to the Government's plans to consult on new legislation around domestic violence.
Published 9 March 2018
The Government has launched its long-awaited consultation on a new domestic violence and abuse bill.
Among the plans put forward by the Home Office and Ministry of Justice is the Women’s Equality Party policy to use electronic tags to enforce restraining orders as part of new Domestic Abuse Protection Orders.
The Government has also proposed extending the definition of domestic abuse to include economic abuse, tougher sentences for crimes affecting children, and creating a new Domestic Violence Commissioner.
A Women’s Equality Party spokesperson said:
“Violence against women and girls is both a cause and consequence of gender inequality. Gender-based violence will never be dealt with simply by policing perpetrators; instead, the political and economic inequality that allows this culture to thrive must be tackled so that women are treated equally.
“It is frustrating that the Bill will focus solely on domestic abuse, failing to understand how domestic abuse, sexual violence and other forms of violence against women are interconnected and vary for women in different circumstances.
“That said, we welcome the opportunity to review the existing legislation, and there are many updates and reforms necessary so that the criminal justice system works better for women.
“The introduction of electronic tagging is something we have been calling for since 2015, and we also support a broader definition of abuse to include the economic control that prevents so many women leaving abusive partners.
“We are disappointed not to see any measures to understand and support immigrant and refugee women, particularly when many women seeking asylum in the UK have fled gender-based violence and find themselves without recourse to public funds.
“The Government also missed an opportunity today to climb down on its plans to stop housing benefit being used to pay for refuge services. The sector has been clear about the threat of this change to their future.
"WE will use the consultation to argue for further reforms to funding model so all women and girls who experience male violence and abuse have access to specialist support. Competitive tendering has run its course. WE will move towards a three-year rolling model of grants – following examples already set by the Scottish Government – that allow specialist organisations to build up their services and ensure their sustainability.”