Critical UN report shows why we need a public inquiry into the state response to domestic violence – says Refuge

A report released last week from the United Nations (UN) has criticised the UK government response to tackling violence against women as lacking “a consistent and coherent” approach.

The report highlights that cuts to legal aid, changes in the way services are commissioned and austerity measures are having a negative impact on the services available to support women experiencing violence. It is also critical of the move to gender-neutral services and terms which ignore the fact that violence against women is a gendered issue.

Refuge welcomes the UN’s findings, echoing their concerns, and argues that this report is further evidence that a public inquiry into the state’s response to domestic violence is needed.

Responding to the report, Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of national domestic violence charity refuge, said:

“Refuge welcomes the UN Report and the spotlight it puts on the issue of violence against women in the UK. Too often, domestic violence and other forms of violence against women are hidden from view but as the UN report shows domestic violence is all pervasive. 1 in 3 women globally will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

“With the NHS, the criminal justice system, education and policing all under fire for not doing more to protect women experiencing domestic violence and prevent it from happening, now is the time for a national investigation. Refuge is calling for a public inquiry into the state response to domestic violence. We need to get to the bottom of why two women are week are still being killed by their current or former partner. In many of these cases, women and children are let down by the police and other state agencies that are meant to protect them.

“Enough is enough. No more women and children should die a preventable death. Please join me in calling for a public inquiry.