Refuge statement on the use of community resolutions in domestic violence cases

Thousands of perpetrators of domestic violence have not faced justice because police forces are wrongly using community resolutions to deal with violence against women. Read more.


Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive, Refuge

Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of Refuge, says:


“It is deeply disturbing that community resolutions are being widely used by police forces in domestic violence cases. Community resolutions can involve asking perpetrators to apologise to their victim, pay compensation costs or take part in restorative justice.  These types of remedies may be effective for some crimes – but domestic violence is not one of them.

Let’s be clear – domestic violence is a serious crime that kills two women every single week.  When women make the extraordinarily brave step of reporting their partners to the police, they must feel confident that they have the full weight of the law behind them.  Violent men must be held to account by our criminal justice system.  Community resolutions can also be very dangerous, as they can put women and children at further risk from perpetrators, who may use them as yet another way to intimidate and control their victims.

National guidance from ACPO makes it clear that community resolutions are not appropriate for domestic violence cases. And yet these new figures show that police forces are wilfully ignoring this guidance. What is the point of having national guidance if police forces do not adhere to it?

I am pleased that Labour has committed to banning the use of community resolutions in domestic violence cases.  The truth is that all political parties need to do more to ensure that women and children are given the protection they deserve.  Violence against women must be a number one priority – not just on paper, but also in practice.

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 need a radical shift in the way we, as a society, view domestic violence and in the way our state agencies respond to victims. Please add your voice to our campaign and sign our petition calling for a public inquiry.”