Refuge responds to Joint Committee on Human Rights’ finding that Government’s domestic policy on violence against women and girls is lagging behind its efforts abroad

Today, the Joint Committee on Human Rights releases its report on Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) in the UK. This report echoes many of the concerns Refuge has expressed regarding protection and provision for women, and demonstrates a dire need for a thorough investigation into police and state responses to domestic violence.

To read the full report, click here.

Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of Refuge, says:

Sandra Horley CORRECT HEADSHOT 2014“This report further highlights the catastrophic failings of the state to protect women and girls from violence. Little progress has been made to end domestic violence. Two women are killed every week in this country by a current or former partner – a statistic which remains unchanged for a decade – and too often opportunities to protect them are missed. This is a national disgrace.

“I welcome the fact that the Joint Committee on Human Rights’ report echoes many of Refuge’s own concerns on the state’s response to domestic violence. The report highlights how localisation and funding cuts are putting specialist domestic violence services – services that literally save lives – at risk, and that services for some of the most vulnerable have been hardest hit. The Committee has also emphasised the devastating impact cuts to legal aid have had on victims of domestic violence, and Refuge strongly backs the recommendation to review current evidential requirements for access to legal aid in these cases.

“Importantly this report again raises concerns about the police and overall state response to domestic violence. The report highlights the “canteen culture” of police forces which can lead to domestic violence victims being disbelieved and their cases poorly handled. It also identified an urgent need for training for criminal and civil judges. Many of the thousands of women and children Refuge supports describe their feelings of outrage, disappointment and shock at the treatment they have received by the criminal justice system.

“But it is not just the criminal justice system that is failing these women. Refuge hears, day in day, out of GPs failing to share concerns, Social Services failing to investigate, Housing authorities failing in their duties to accommodate. Enough is enough, something has to change. This is why Refuge is calling for a public inquiry into the state response to domestic violence. How many more women have to die before we build an effective, national response to this national problem?

Please join us in our call for a public inquiry by signing our petition.”

Read more about Refuge’s public inquiry campaign.