OPINION
04/03/2020 13:22 GMT | Updated 04/03/2020 15:31 GMT

Boris Johnson, You Must Recognise That Domestic Abuse Is A Specific Kind Of Violence

An open letter to the prime minister from the UK's leading domestic abuse charities.

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The domestic abuse commissioner must be included in the government's violent crime taskforce.

Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing to you as organisations from the domestic abuse and violence against women and girls (VAWG) sector to ask you to include the UK’s first designate Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs, in your violent crime task force. 

We know your Government is committed to tackling violent crime and you have pledged to cut it by 20%. We are therefore concerned, as reported in the Observer, that the Domestic Abuse Commissioner is not yet included in your violent crime roundtables.

A third of all violent crime in the UK is domestic abuse. 

Last month, the annual UK Femicide Census reported that 149 women were killed by men in 2018. The number of women killed by a current or former partner has risen by nearly a third and is at its highest level since 2006.  

Worryingly more than half of the perpetrators were found to have a previous history of violence towards women. Six of the men claimed “rough sex gone wrong” as a defence to murder. 

This is a national crisis. We urgently need a detailed examination at the highest level of government of the action that is required to protect women and children from domestic abuse and to hold perpetrators to account. 

Domestic abuse is a specific form of violence. It is not gender neutral. It needs to be represented in its own right in your taskforce. 

The question of how we stop men killing women and children will be fundamental to the success of your commitment to reduce serious violence. Including the Domestic Abuse Commissioner will not only provide a vital evidence basis for your work, it would send a strong message that this Government understands the nature and scale of the violence women and girls face, and will not tolerate it.

We look forward to hearing from you. 

Yours sincerely,  

We Can’t Consent To This

Centre for Women’s Justice

Women’s Aid Federation England

Welsh Women’s Aid 

End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) 

Southall Black Sisters 

IRISi

Refuge 

Respect

Rights of Women

SafeLives

Standing Together Against Domestic Violence

Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance

Solace 

Latin American Women’s Rights Service 

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