The Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs, has issued a response to the government’s Violence and Women and Girls Strategy which was published today:
“The urgent need to tackle the epidemic scale of violence against women and girls has never been more pressing. In the wake of the murders of Sarah Everard, Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, the public demanded radical and immediate change.
There was an unprecedented response to the consultation for the strategy, which the government reopened in light of the public outcry, with more than 180,000 people answering the call for evidence.
Today the government has responded with its new strategic vision for tackling violence against women and girls, which intrinsically includes domestic abuse.
I welcome the strategy as a first step to set out the scope and vision of what is needed, but the government must go much further to meet the scale of the challenge.
I am encouraged to see the government’s commitment to increase support for victims and survivors, increase the number of perpetrators brought to justice and to reduce the prevalence of violence against women and girls in the long-term. These must be coupled with firm actions which track and monitor progress.
To achieve the change so urgently needed it is imperative that the strategy is backed by significant long term funding to deliver this work, as well as securing vital legal changes to provide robust protections to women and girls through the upcoming Victim’s Bill and Online Harms Bill.
The strategy outlines a commitment to ‘radical’ reform, which is very much needed.
This would be much more successful if the definition of serious violence in the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill specifically included domestic abuse and violence against women and girls.
Including violence against women and girls in the definition would put a legal duty on a range of public bodies to work together to prevent and tackle these forms of serious violence and send a strong message to the public and police forces on the need for an early action and robust response.
I urge the Government to seize this opportunity to ensure that the work outlined in this strategy is treated with the kind of priority and urgency that the public quite clearly want and deserve.”