Violence Against Women

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 5th September 2013.

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Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 9:30 am, 5th September 2013

What recent representations she has received from the women’s sector on tackling violence against women.

Photo of Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne The Minister of State, Home Department

The Government regularly engage with organisations representing women’s interests, through quarterly stakeholder meetings, representation at the violence against women and girls inter-ministerial group and other ongoing meetings.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

Sadly, since the election the number of incidents of domestic violence has risen, while the number of prosecutions has fallen by 11% and the number of referrals to the Crown Prosecution Service has fallen by 13%. Might that have something to do with cutting 15,000 police officers, when the Minister himself promised 3,000 more at the election?

Photo of Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne The Minister of State, Home Department

The right hon. Gentleman neglected to mention at the end of his question that this Government have presided over a fall in crime of over 10%. We now have the lowest level of crime in this country since the independent survey began. The Government treat domestic violence extremely seriously. We are keen to see the police investigate all reports of domestic violence, and I am also pleased to tell the House that there have been record numbers of convictions for violence against women and girls over the past year.

Photo of Emma Lewell-Buck Emma Lewell-Buck Labour, South Shields

Freedom of information data compiled by Labour this year revealed that up to a third of domestic incidents recorded by police are repeat incidents. In my previous profession I witnessed the same victims calling for protection time and time again. Will the Minister back Labour’s calls for new national minimum standards on preventing violence against women and girls, to ensure that opportunities to intervene and protect families are not missed?

Photo of Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne The Minister of State, Home Department

We need to pay particular attention—and we are—to the problem of repeat offenders. That is why, for example, we have introduced the domestic violence disclosure scheme—otherwise known as Clare’s law—to try to protect women who find themselves at particular risk in those circumstances. However, we remain open, as always, to new ideas to try to reduce domestic violence.