A charity has drawn attention to the 16 women who have been killed by serving or former police officers since 2009 in a protest outside the Metropolitan Police headquarters in London
Black silhouettes, bearing the pink slogan #EnoughIsEnough, are being displayed outside Scotland Yard by the charity Refuge to launch its campaign calling on the government to put an end to violence against women.
It comes in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard by serving Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, which has put issues around women’s safety in the spotlight.
“Enough is enough – our own Home Secretary Priti Patel said this and she said she’d use everything in her power to stop this epidemic of violence against women and girls,” said Ruth Davison, chief executive of Refuge, which provides specialist services to survivors of domestic abuse.
“We need more than just words, we need actual action, action that will make a difference and save women’s lives, keep women safer day to day.”
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which returns to the House of Lords on October 20, contains a proposed new serious violence prevention duty, which requires police and other public bodies to work together to prevent and tackle serious violence.
But as the Bill currently stands, the definition of serious violence in the prevention duty does not explicitly include domestic abuse, domestic homicide or sexual violence – something Refuge wants to change.
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, a patron of the charity, said she will “certainly be putting an amendment in in the House of Lords”.
“In this Bill, there is a serious violence duty and what we’re seeking to do is to have violence against women and girls included in it,” she said, adding that it should be given the same priority as terrorism.
Jo Brand, a comedian and ambassador for Refuge, echoed that sentiment, saying women often feel they are not being taken seriously by police in reporting domestic violence.
She called recent advice released by the Metropolitan Police after Couzens’ sentencing which suggested women who fear a lone male police officer might not be genuine to run into a house or wave down a bus “ridiculous”.
“The onus is not on us (women) to poke people in the eye with a key if we think they’re a bit dodgy,” she told the PA news agency. “I think it’s time we’re a bit more protected.”
“To me there’s still a hidden epidemic of domestic violence which is not taken seriously, which the police need to take more seriously and where men need to stand up with women and say ‘we’re not having this’,” said the comedian, who also criticised what she called a culture of “misogyny and laddism” in the police.