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Candidates Answers to Hustings Q1 Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

In September 2019, domestic murders reached a very worrying 5 year high. The pandemic has made the situation even worse. During the first month after the lockdown began in late March, sixteen women and girls were killed in suspected domestic homicides — more than triple the number from the same period in 2019. At least 10 more have died in the two months since then.

What should the government do to tackle male violence against women?

1. shahrar Ali        83 wc

The first step in tackling this epidemic of domestic violence against women is to ensure that the provision is there to ensure women and their children can access services to escape violent relationships. Council funding for women’s refuges has been hit by around £8M in cuts over the past decade. This must immediately be reversed and funded sustainably. Women must be supported in breaking free from cycles of abuse and that means the ability to access permanent safe housing to rebuild their lives.

1. Amelia Womack     100 wc

As a domestic violence survivor, I am passionate about ending violence against women. I have worked to make misogyny a hate crime using petitioning and lobbying as well as working cross party to get the policy on the agenda in parliament. This policy will help ensure misogynistic behaviour is addressed by law before a woman experiences violence.

Austerity has stripped away much local support for survivors, so I have also worked cross party to demand increased council funding for local refuges and support, and been a committed anti-austerity campaigner as deputy leader as well as co-chair of the People’s Assembly.

1. cleo Lake    113 wc

It is extremely worrying to see this trend. I do believe that many things need to happen. Support services need to be better funded. It is deeply saddening that many women will not be safe in their own homes something exasperated through this lockdown period. I also was alarmed to understand that services for children experiencing abuse including sexual abuse have a year-long waiting list or have closed the waiting list altogether and cant met demand. What is actually going on in many homes? I think that also needs looking in to. How can it be right that social services might know about this abuse but can't do enough about it at times?

1. Rosie Sexton     166 wc

Domestic abuse is an issue that I'm passionate about. The thought of so many women being trapped at home with an abuser during lockdown was really worrying, and it's something that I've been working hard to raise as a council priority. I've been following the progress of the (long overdue) Domestic Abuse Bill, and although it promises some improvement on the current situation, there are still some large gaps in the provision. In particular, there are still no measures to protect migrant women who have "no recourse to public funds". The bill could also go further to protect women in the workplace, and in family courts (there is real concern that the family court process can be used by abusers to continue controlling and abusing their victim). The government also needs to do more to ensure that victims of domestic abuse are financially able to leave their abuser, and that those who are marginalised (for example migrants or sex workers) are able to seek help without fear.

1. Andrea Carey Fuller     193 wc

I fully support the actions set out in the Woman's Place UK Manifesto:

i) Recognise prostitution as sexually abusive exploitation which is harmful to all women and girls.

ii) Implement the abolitionist model, criminalising those who exploit prostituted people (including pimps and sex buyers) and decriminalising the prostituted, providing practical and psychological exiting support.

iii) Ratify the Istanbul Convention. (The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence)

iv) Sustainable investment from national government, proportionate to demand, to tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG), including single-sex support services, and specialist independent services run by and for women, BME women, migrant women, disabled women, lesbians, and services tackling FGM and other harmful practices.

v) Highlight and tackle the harms of pornography including the exploitation of women in its production and the hostile culture it creates for all women and girls in society.

vi) Legislate to protect women and girls from the impact of porn culture on their lives, including clear penalties for image-based sexual abuse. End ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ for abused migrant women; extend the Domestic Violence Rule and the Destitution and Domestic Violence Concession.

1. sian Berry & jonathan bartley     341 wc

The levels of domestic violence and murders are totally unacceptable and have received far too little priority compared with other forms of violence in terms of enforcement, prevention and wider support services. Even worse, in recent times squeezed police resources have been diverted from violence against women into street violence against young people in particular, and Sian has seen for herself in her work on the London Assembly the huge caseloads officers, detectives and victim support teams have had to face. On top of this, refuges and support services have been squeezed by austerity cuts, which have particularly affected dedicated services for women from different cultural and religious groups, which evidence shows can prove disastrous for disclosure and support-seeking if services are merged into centralised generic provision. Lockdown appears to have resulted in both a rise in domestic violence, including against young people and other family members, and a reduction in people seeking help, and everyone involved in this work is expecting that as restrictions are relaxed there will be a big rise in survivors and victims seeking to escape. This is an emerging crisis that needs planning for and questions asked by every Green in elected positions and, in the wider party, we can be allies in showing our support for the many organisations who are highlighting the need for more funding for support services, housing options and justice. In the longer term, campaigns arguing for more resources to be put into prevention and support have had some success in the establishment of Violence Reduction Units in many areas, including in London where violence against women and domestic violence is a clear focus of the new VRU’s strategy, and where there is also a dedicated Victim’s Commissioner who comes from a background working in women’s support services. Every one of these units needs more support and more funding from Government and Police and Crime Commissioners to be effective, and so that more independent services to break this cycle of neglect can be commissioned and given long-term security in their work.