The systems in place to protect women from male violence are not working. The Femicide Census, launched today, makes that clear... We hope the census will be a wake up call to our imminent new government, of whatever colour, to ensure that one agency locally is held accountable for understanding and meeting the needs of women experiencing and escaping domestic violence, to preserve the national network of life-saving women's refuges, and above all to make solving this crisis one of the most urgent social policy priorities.
On December 18 the Government announced that it would introduce legislation to create a criminal offence of coercive control. The aim of the new law is to protect domestic violence victims from sustained patterns of psychological abuse. The maximum sentence for anyone found guilty could be imprisonment for up to five years.
Today, our legal system is one step closer to being able to hold domestic violence perpetrators accountable for their crimes. It is one step closer to being able to accurately depict the true nature of domestic violence within the courtroom and further protect victims of domestic violence and their children.
Imagine you went on a first date with someone who was sarcastic, nasty, disparaging towards you. It's hard to believe that you would agree to a second date. Yet an abusive relationship can creep up on us and have us gradually accepting that behaviour, justifying it, perhaps even feeling that we are in some way responsible for it happening.
10 December marks a historic day for LGBT* people, when thousands of gay couples across the UK are able to convert their civil partnerships into marriage. But as we celebrate this milestone in our history, perhaps it is also about time we speak out about the other, often hidden, side of LGBT* marriages and relationships.
There is a wall of ignorance standing between victims of domestic violence and the rest of us. The constant question "why doesn't she just leave him?" has such a simple answer: she fears she will be killed. The two women a week who are killed, on average, by a partner or former partner, bear silent witness to this.
One evening, I came home, house tidy, dinner on its way; by now my eldest daughter was at university. My twins were sitting at his computer in the small den just off the kitchen. The computer crashed, as can happen, and for the first time I saw another side of this man. He exploded into a torrent of pure aggression.