Great news coming out from the Government this morning. For years we’ve been calling for a new integrated strategy to tackle violence against women – and now it appears it could well happen.
Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, has announced the start of a consultation process to look at the issue. In great PR-style, to help launch their initiative, the Government commissioned a poll and then went and sold it into the red tops. The Sun and The Mirror both lapped it up.
The findings themselves reflected a poll Amnesty International commissioned in October 2005, when we found out that one in five people believe a woman wearing sexy clothing is responsible for being raped.
This time round the government discovered:
One in five people think it is acceptable for a man to hit his partner if she is wearing revealing clothes
One in six murders in the UK that are recorded as domestic violence-related killings
One in seven people think a man is justified in using violence on a woman who nags or moans at him
All pretty shocking stuff and that’s why we at Amnesty welcomed the news of the consultation.
We’ve been calling on the government to end postcode lotteries over service provision and a lack of joined-up thinking when it comes to tackling the scourge of domestic violence, rape, stalking, ‘honour’ killings and other dreadful crimes against women.
Now the battle will turn to the backrooms of parliament as the lobbying process kicks into gear.
One thing is for sure and that is we can’t allow current trends to continue – in the last two decades more than half of the women-only rape crisis centres or helplines have shut and over the same period conviction rate for reported rapes has plummeted to just over 6%.
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