The Domestic Violence Law Reform Campaign
Paladin is the first National Stalking Advocacy Service devoted to supporting high risk victims of stalking. Sara Charlton Charitable Foundation (SCCF) is a grant making charity dedicated to combating domestic abuse in the UK. Women’s Aid is the national domestic violence charity that supports a network of around 300 local services working to end domestic violence against women in England. We have joined together to campaign for legislative and other changes to better protect women survivors of domestic violence and their children. Some of the most dangerous cases happen when domestic violence, stalking and coercive control co-occur. This is where women and children are more likely to be murdered and early identification and intervention is vital to saving lives.
The laws used to prosecute domestic violence – including breach of a restraining order, damaging property, assault, burglary, rape, kidnapping and murder – do not describe it’s essence. It misses the fact that domestic violence is about fear and a pattern of continuing acts. However, the Crown Prosecution Service only prosecutes for a single event and tends to focus on the injury level. As a direct result, the seriousness of the pattern of abuse is not identified or understood, victims become entrapped, abuse and rape become normalised and no-one goes to prison without injuries being present. Put simply, the criminal law does not conceive many women in abusive relationships as victims of ongoing abuse.
Unacceptable controlling, domineering and demeaning behaviours currently fall outside the law and cumulative harms are ignored when each abusive incident is treated as an isolated offence. Victims often report that “the violence isn’t the worst part” of being abused and that the non-violent forms of abuse can be more devastating than physical or sexual violence. However, current law also leads to minimisation of abuse by police and courts. Only 3 men are convicted and punished for abuse for every 100 reports of abuse by men.
*BREAKING NEWS *
Domestic Violence Law Reform Campaign achieves criminalisation of coercive control
Thu, 18th Dec 14
The Domestic Violence Law Reform Campaign is celebrating a significant breakthrough today, as the Government announced a new domestic violence law criminalising patterns of coercive, controlling and psychological abuse. The announcement is designed to clarify and strengthen the law on abuse, to drive a culture change ensuring that no form of abuse can be perpetrated without criminal sanction. The Campaign by Women’s Aid, the Sara Charlton Charitable Foundation, and Paladin National Stalking Advocacy Service, has been calling for this change, to better protect women who experience domestic violence. Read more here
READ THE HOME OFFICE PRESS RELEASE here
House of Lords debates
On 28th October 2014, the House of Lords debated amendments to the Serious Crime Bill, which included strengthening the law around domestic violence. Read the full Hansard paper here.
On the 20th January 2015 there was a debate on the Serious Crime Bill in which Domestic Law Reform was mentioned. Read the full hansard here
Victims are at the centre of this campaign and we want to make sure that your voice is heard. If you have been a victim of domestic violence, please complete our survey.
All responses will be kept anonymous.
We want to hear from professionals working in the domestic violence sector. If you work in the sector, please complete our survey:
All responses will be kept anonymous.
Campaign Overview & Supporting Documents
Sara Charlton, Paladin and Women’s Aid (2014) Domestic Violence Campaign
Sara Charlton, Paladin and Women’s Aid (2014) – The Victim’s Voice Survey: Victim’s Experience of Domestic Violence and the Criminal Justice System
Sara Charlton, Paladin and Women’s Aid (2014) – Domestic Violence Law Reform – Domestic Violence Professional Survey Results
Tuerkheimer, D (2013) Breakup Yale Journal of Law and Feminism (51)
Sara Charlton, Paladin and Women’s Aid (2014) Think Twice: 12 Domestic Violence Myths
Brooks Newmark MP (April 2014) Brooks Newmark recommends changes to legal and police procedures to better protect victims of domestic violence.
UN Raconteur Press Release (April 2014) – Special Rapporteur on violence against women finalizes country mission to the United Kingdom and calls for urgent action to address the accountability deficit and also the adverse impacts of changes in funding and services.
Baroness Thornton (May 2014) Out of Control
Parliamentary Debates & Questions
Baroness Thornton – Question for Short Debate – Domestic Violence – House of Lords (13/05/2014)
Baroness Gale – Question: Domestic Violence – House of Lords (13/05/2014)
Breakthrough Victory for the Domestic Violence Law Reform Campaign – Huffington Post (24-12-2014)
Domestic Violence Law Reform Campaign achieves criminalisation of coercive control – Press Release (18-12-2014)
“Campaign wins consultation on criminalising domestic abuse” – Press Release (20-08-2014)
“Domestic Violence: Controlling behaviour is abuse and it is time we criminalised it.” – Telegraph (20-08-2014)
“Domestic abuse offence could cover emotional as well as physical harm.” The Guardian (20-08-2014)
“The Law Is Failing Victims of Domestic Violence” – Huffington Post (30-07-2014)
“Why we must close gaps in law around domestic violence” – Centre for Labour and Social Studies (29-07-2014)
“Domestic Abusers “Not Being Brought To Justice” – Sky News (28-07-2014)
“Labour to make domestic violence a specific offence” – The Guardian (28-07-2014)
“Domestic Violence Law Planned” – BBC News (28-07-2014)
“Britain set to make domestic violence criminal offence” – The Times of India (26-07-2014)
“Domestic Violence could become a specific offence, says David Cameron.” – The Telegraph (25-07-2014)
“Domestic Violence Campaign Welcome’s Prime Minister’s Statement” – Women’s Aid (25-07-2014)
“Ceila Peachey: Mum was killed by her ex – I want a public inquiry.” – The Times (23-07-2014)
“Isolated incidents”: how the laws around domestic violence are failing its victims” – New Statesman (23-07-2014)
“Government Silence on Domestic Violence Leaves Women at Risk of Being Killed“– Press Release (4th June 2014)
“It’s Time to Criminalise Psychological Abuse” – Huffington Post (2nd June 2014)
“Frontline domestic violence professionals demand law change.” – DASH24 (30th May 2014)
“Call for new law to tackle domestic abuse (Scotland)” – Evening Times (8th May 2014)
“Shockingly Domestic Abuse is not a crime.” – Cosmo (25th March 2014)
“A partner’s right to know” – Sky News (8th March 2014)
“Domestic violence campaigners call for tougher laws as abusers escape justice” – The Guardian (5th March 2014)
“Abuse campaigners want law change.” – The Courier (5th March 2014)
“Psychological abuse ‘should be made a crime'” – BBC News (5th March 2014)
“The violence epidemic.” – The Independent (5th March 2014)
“Campaigners want law change.” – MSN News (5th March 2014)
“Coercive control should be criminalised” – Family Law Week (5th March 2014)
Campaign for new law that criminalised Domestic Violence – 4NI News (5th March 2014)
“Abuse campaigners want law change.” – The Belfast Telegraph (5th March 2014)
“Domestic violence shake-up.” – Daily Mail (5th March 2014)
Domestic violence campaigners call for tougher laws – Community Justice Portal (5th March 2014)
“Domestic violence set to be targeted by tough new law” – The Guardian (28th December 2013)
“Domestic violence crackdown will send repeat offenders to jail for 14 years” – The Mirror (29th December 2013)
“MP backs draft Bill to create new domestic abuse offence carrying up to 14 years in prison” – The Telegraph (28th December 2013)