Refuge statement on new domestic violence figures

Today, 13th February 2014, the Office for National Statistics has published new figures on violent crime and sexual offences for 2012/13

 

Refuge’s chief executive, Sandra Horley CBE, says:

“These new figures show an increase in reports of domestic violence. But we must remember that crime survey figures are only estimates. Domestic violence is still very much a hidden crime: the truth is that the vast majority of victims still do not report their experiences.

Domestic violence thrives on secrecy, so no one knows its true extent.  What we do know is that domestic violence is a crime on a colossal scale.  Every week two women are killed by current or former partners in England and Wales.  Refuge supports 3,000 women and children on any given day, and the demand on our services is relentless.  Our refuges are full to bursting – finding a space in a refuge is like finding gold dust.

I am also concerned that these new figures do not include any data on repeat victimisation.  This is a crucial omission.  Domestic violence is not a one-off: it increases in severity and frequency over time.  Last year’s figures on repeat victimisation, for example, showed that 89% of those experiencing more than four instances of violence were women. It is vital that we recognise that domestic violence is a deeply gendered crime.

Refuge works tirelessly to bring domestic violence out of the shadows and reach out to abused women and children. One of the reasons why women are so reluctant to come forward to report abuse is that they lack confidence in the criminal justice system.  The police and other state agencies still fail to provide an adequate response to vulnerable and terrified victims.

That’s why Refuge is calling on the Government to open a public inquiry into the response of the police and other state agencies to domestic violence.  We must restore faith in our criminal justice system and ensure that women and children are given the support and protection they need.

Sign our petition for a public inquiry here: www.refuge.org.uk/maria.”