"The domestic abuse bill is one of the most over-announced and under delivered bills in recent political history. First announced in 2017, successive Conservative governments have failed to deliver this life-saving legislation: delaying the consultation stage, nearly killing it when Boris Johnson decided to illegally suspend parliament, and choosing not to carry it over to a new parliamentary session when a general election was called.
"By failing to prioritise the domestic abuse bill, our government has shown how little importance it attaches to saving women’s lives. Now, as we approach International Women’s Day, the bill has been re-announced as part of the package of “women’s announcements” that are usually made at this time of year, and without any greater clarity on how it will be funded.
"As this political lip service continues, women are dying needlessly and lives are being ruined. Sixty percent of referrals to a refuge are turned away, domestic homicides are at a five year high and frontline services are crumbling because of insufficient funding. The Women’s Equality Party is the only political party to call this what it is: a state of emergency.
"It doesn’t have to be like this. Imagine the lives that would be saved and improved if our politicians had the ambition to free this country from the causes and consequences of violence.
"We are campaigning to ensure the Domestic Abuse Bill guarantees ring-fenced sustainable funding for refuges and other specialist services, gives equal support and protections to migrant women and gives every woman fleeing violence the legal right to a home (just like in Scotland and Wales). But history shows that we cannot keep waiting for the government to get its act together. That’s why every politician should be doing all they can to solve this crisis of violence right now.
"As part of our London mayoral campaign, we are calling for no woman to be turned away from a refuge and for perpetrators, not victims, to be forced to leave their homes. In London alone, 2000 women and as many children are turned away from a refuge every year. We would fund 2000 additional places and increase capital and revenue investment in specialist services.
"The Met Police recorded nearly 79,000 domestic abuse offences in 2018. We would empower police to remove perpetrators from victims’ homes for 28 days immediately after any domestic abuse incident, without having to bring charges (using a Domestic Violence Protection Order), by paying for the court fees out of the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime.
"Ending domestic abuse is not impossible, it is a matter of political will. WE are clear about that, it's time the other parties were too."
Leader of the Women's Equality Party and candidate for London Mayor