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.
After today, two women a week will still be killed in England and Wales, at the hands of a partner or former partner. The police will still receive one call every minute relating to a domestic violence incident. Three quarters of a million children will still witness domestic violence every year. This is not a counsel of despair. There is much we can do
I say ending violence against women and girls requires all of us - men and boys, women and girls, governments, communities and activists. I genuinely believe that we have a common goal. And I genuinely believe that we can work together in a way that does not reassert male power over women, that keeps women and girls at the centre, and focuses on transforming gender inequality rather than just adding men and boys.
Domestic violence has long been a hidden issue, not central to political debate, muddled by misplaced shame and a response by the media and even frontline services which far too often disbelieves and blames the victim. The public are now realising we can't go on tolerating a situation in which an average of two women a week are killed by their current or former partner.
The jewellery consists of gold and silver plated pendants and earrings in the shape of a woman in a foetal position, with her head in her hands. Azagury-Partridge, in an interview with the Independent, has suggested that this image is meant to represent "female empowerment". The image of a woman in a foetal position is anything but empowerment.
This isn't just about asking Sheffield United to take a stand on violence against women and girls. This is about demanding that every single football club stand up for victims of sexual violence and refuse to work with players who commit rape and condemn those who harass, abuse and stalk a victim of sexual violence.