A long way to go – Refuge responds to HMIC report on progress of police response to domestic violence

Sandra Horley head shotToday’s (14 December 2015) report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) on the progress of the police response to domestic violence shows that, whilst there have been some areas of improvement, there is still a long way to go before all victims of domestic violence get the police response they need – says national domestic violence charity, Refuge.

 
The report, Increasingly everyone’s business: A progress report on the police response to domestic abuse, comes 21 months after a previous HMIC report which found that the police response to domestic violence was not good enough.

Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of Refuge, says:

“Refuge welcomes the commitment shown by the Government to addressing domestic violence and the spotlight HMIC is shining on police response to domestic violence victims. However, there is still a long way to go until every woman, no matter where she lives, gets the police protection she needs and deserves. Too often the response a woman receives from the police is subject to a ‘postcode lottery’. And too often women tell us that they feel let down by the police and criminal justice system.

“Domestic violence should be treated as seriously as any other crime. It is disappointing that some police forces still show apathy, complacency and indifference to women experiencing violence and abuse. It is also disappointing that the charging rates still remains worryingly low. We need a strong police response and that requires strong leadership. Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners need to show zero tolerance of inadequate policing and failure to protection vulnerable women and children. Only then can we hope to change the ‘canteen culture’ of negative attitudes towards women. How many guidelines, how many more reports, how more inspections, how many more women have to be murdered before domestic violence is treated as the serious crime it is?

“Domestic violence is a matter of life and death; with two women killed each week at the hands of their current of former partner. It is disappointing that in 2015 many women are still not getting an appropriate response from the police. It is vital that the Government maintains its current scrutiny of police response to domestic violence and forces must prioritise this issue – only then can women and children keep safe and lives be saved.”