Domestic Violence Killings in the UK Hit Highest Level in Five Years
Domestic violence killings have reached a five year high, according to new figures. Data obtained by the BBC from 43 police forces across the UK shows 173 people were killed in domestic violence-related homicides in 2018. This is an increase of 32 deaths on the previous year. The statistics show there were 165 domestic killings in 2014, 160 in 2015, 139 in 2016 and 141 in 2017.

In July, the Domestic Abuse Bill, designed to help protect survivors of domestic abuse in England and Wales, was introduced in Parliament for the first time before Theresa May stepped down as Prime Minister.

But the bill was dropped after Boris Johnson suspended Parliament.

On Thursday, Mr Johnson said domestic abuse legislation would be reintroduced in the Queen’s Speech. The Prime Minister tweeted: “Domestic abuse shatters lives and tears families apart. We are fully committed to tackling this horrific crime – which is why the Queen’s Speech will confirm we will be reintroducing domestic abuse legislation in the next session.”

Sir James Munby, former president of the Family Division of the High Court of England and Wales, has called for the Domestic Abuse Bill to be brought back before Parliament. He told BBC Radio4’s Today programme on Thursday: “This is a vitally important Bill, tackling what everyone agrees is a very great social evil.”

“It is immensely depressing nothing effective has been done to get this necessary reform through Parliament.”

Sir James added: “The Bill must be reintroduced in Parliament as soon as the next session starts.” “It must then be pursued to the earliest possible conclusion of the parliamentary process with determination, vigour and a real sense of urgent commitment on the part of Government.”

These are not isolated incidents’

A new domestic abuse commissioner has been created but the position has yet to be filled. Labour MP Jess Phillips warned new laws to tackle domestic violence will not work while police do not have the resources they need to tackle domestic abuse, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “None of this will work unless there are resources on the ground.”

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A spokesperson from Women’s Aid told the charity is “appalled” that domestic homicides are now at their highest rate in five years.”

“Domestic homicide is a gendered crime, with 82 per cent of perpetrators being male and 73 per cent of victims being female.”

“We know that these are not isolated incidents or one-offs: the research shows there are clear warning signs for domestic homicides, and that when a woman attempts to leave her abuser it is the most dangerous time.”

“The Government must put reducing domestic homicides at the centre of its work to reduce violence against women. We know that it is not just so-called ‘high-risk’ cases which lead to homicide; coercive control is a significant indicator and we know not all survivors are taken seriously with the current approach to domestic abuse.”

The charity called for a sustainable funding model for refugee accommodation and specialist domestic abuse training for all police officers for authorities to seriously tackle domestic abuse.

 

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