Police budgets to counter domestic assaults must be ringfenced, say campaigners
Domestic violence kills 15 times as many people in Britain as terrorism, say campaigners who want the police to be given more money to tackle the problem.
The huge disparity is highlighted in figures obtained from official sources by victims’ rights campaigners, who say the police budget for combating domestic violence must be ringfenced, as it is for terrorism.
Official figures show there were 1,870 domestic murders in England and Wales between 2000 and 2018, compared with 126 that were terrorism-related. The vast majority of domestic murder victims were women. In addition, campaigners say an estimated 400 victims of domestic violence a year take their own lives.
“Expenditure on the prevention and detection of domestic violence must be hugely increased now,” said Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru’s home affairs spokeswoman. “It is shocking and a disgrace that since 2000 over 6,000 – predominantly women – have either been murdered or have taken their own lives following domestic abuse.”
Police forces do not reveal how much they spend on tackling domestic violence. But campaigners say it has been cut in recent years.
Plaid Cymru’s home affairs spokeswoman Liz Saville Roberts says expenditure on the issue must be increased. Photograph: Andrew Price/View Finder
The intelligence and security agencies, charged with combating terrorism have an annual budget of £2.6bn.
“Spending on fighting terrorism has been ringfenced whilst money for women’s support services and for the police has been cut,” said Saville Roberts. “Fifteen times more [people] have been murdered by partners than have lost their lives because of terrorism. It is right that funds for counter terrorism are not cut, but the budget for domestic abuse must increase and be protected as a matter of priority for the next government.”
The call comes amid mounting concern that domestic violence is increasing. Demand for women’s abuse support services rose by 83% in the 10 years up to 2017 while funding fell by almost 50%. The government estimates that domestic violence costs the UK £66bn annually.
On average the police receive an emergency call relating to domestic abuse every 30 seconds. Domestic abuse offences in London rose by 63% between 2011 and 2018, according to figures collated by the mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime. At the same time, prosecutions are falling.
Domestic-abuse related cases referred to prosecutors for consideration for charge fell 11% last year despite a surge in the number of crimes recorded by police.
Thousands of alleged perpetrators remain at large, according to campaigners.
“Police funding and support services for victims of domestic abuse have been severely cut since 2010,” said Harry Fletcher, spokesman for the Victims Rights Campaign. “Over the last 18 years 126 people have been killed by terror in England and Wales whilst over 1,800 mainly women have been killed by partners. This is outrageous.
“It is essential that the new government gives priority to preventing and investigating domestic abuse. Budgets must be protected and ringfenced in the future. The police must be given the resources to find and prosecute the thousands of alleged perpetrators who are at large in the community on the police wanted list.”
(Source: The Guardian)