Refuge ‘not surprised’ by increase in police complaints

The Independent Police Complaints Commisssion (IPCC) today (7 October) published new figures which show that complaints against the police rose for the third year in a row. National domestic violence charity Refuge says it is ‘not surprised’ by the figures and argues that more must be done to ensure that the police, IPCC and other state agencies respond appropriately to domestic violence.


Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of Refuge, says:

“Sadly, I am not surprised by these figures. In cases of domestic violence, we hear day in day out of incidents where police do not investigate fully, do not risk assess, do not safeguard children, do not arrest the perpetrator and do not capture evidence to enable the Crown Prosecution Service to charge; often with devastating consequences for the woman and her children. We know that most abused women who have been killed by their ex/partner are already known by the police to be victims of domestic violence.

“We also know that the complaints system is not working. We work with a number of families who have lost loved ones to domestic violence and often the families have to wait years for answers from the IPCC and the police. This is an unnecessarily drawn-out and painful process. And even when reports are finally published, lessons are not learnt: two women each week are still being killed as a result of domestic violence.

“This is simply not good enough and why Refuge is calling urgently for a public inquiry. A public inquiry would not just look at individual cases – or individual police forces – it would look at the national picture, connecting the dots between a domestic homicide in Derbyshire with another in Manchester. It will examine not just the response of the police but also the IPCC and other state agencies such as the CPS, health and Social Services and investigate why they are all failing to protect women experiencing domestic violence on a catastrophic scale. Join us in our call for a public inquiry and sign the petition.”


The IPCC report into police complaints 2014-15 can be found here.