Police Get A Call About Domestic Violence Every 30 Seconds. So Why Are They Still ‘Failing Victims’?

Only eight out of 43 police forces respond well to domestic abuse, according to new stats


by Sophie Cullinane |
Published on

A new report about domestic violence has been released today and it makes for depressing reading. The key learning? There's a postcode lottery approach to whether police will investigate an allegation of abuse.

Statistics from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary(HMIC) showed how only eight out of the 43 police forces in England and Wales 'responded well' to domestic abuse - leading to campaigners saying victims are being failed because of ‘alarming and unacceptable weaknesses'in the police force.

The report named Greater Manchester, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Gloucestershire police forces as being those with particularly bad track records of handling domestic violence cases, whereas Lancashire Police was named as having the best response to domestic abuse.

The report also criticised poor attitudes within the police in general, inadequate evidence collecting and ineffective training, calling for an urgent overhaul of the constabulary with how domestic violence cases are treated. Labour have demanded immediate action from the Home Secretary.

"Domestic abuse casts a terrible blight on the lives of very many people, and can have tragic consequences,' HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor has said. 'In too many police forces we found there were serious weaknesses in services, which are putting victims at unnecessary and avoidable risk. Domestic abuse is not only about violence, it is about fear, control and secrecy. It is essential that the police make substantial reforms to their handling of domestic abuse, including their understanding of the coercive and psychological nature of the crime as well as its physical manifestations.'

There were 269,700 domestic abuse-related crimes in England and Wales between 2012 and 2013, the report found, with 77 women killed by their partners or ex-partners in the same period.

Or, to put that another way, police are getting calls every 30 seconds about domestic abuse - and 3 women a fortnight are killed as a result. Statistics that surely mean we can't allow the police failings to continue.

**Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophiecullinane **

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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