Statistically, by far the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship and when a women and her children are most likely to be killed is when she seeks help. It is crucial that she is able to leave her home and find a confidential place of safety away from the perpetrator. Without that women will be forced to return to the perpetrator just to ensure that she and her children are not homeless.
I am particularly worried about the justice gap and the lack of action when it comes to violence against women. Not only have prosecutions and convictions fallen at a time when reported crimes are going up, there is a growing use of community resolutions which are just inappropriate for serious crimes. Much as the Home Office like to tell us this is OK, it isn't.
From a young age we are taught that forgiveness and acceptance is the key to happiness. But have these teachings been misconstrued to such an extent that we now have a warped view of what actually deserves forgiveness and acceptance? Do we now unconsciously gravitate towards destructive relationships, believing that without pain there can be no real passion?
The horrifying reality of domestic abuse is that it happens in the home, often over a period of time in which abuse may escalate into severe violence. However because of the ongoing nature of this sort of crime, it becomes inexcusable that there is a deficiency in effective intervention and prevention.
More women than men experience domestic violence, but the gap is not as wide as you might think. In the 2011/12 Crime Survey for England and Wales, 1.2 million (7%) women and 800,000 (5%) men reported having experienced any type of domestic abuse in the last year. This means that for every five victims of domestic violence, three will be female and two will be male.
We're asking the government to criminalise psychological abuse, coercive control and allow the police to take patterns of repeated abusive behaviour into account so that no one has to feel, like Claire: "I felt that I would never, ever be free. He controlled every aspect of my life, and left me terrified and feeling worthless and alone."