This epi­demic of abuse MUST end

Daily Mail - - News - By Vic­to­ria Atkins

EV­ERY hour, po­lice in Eng­land and Wales re­ceive around 100 calls re­lat­ing to do­mes­tic abuse. There are an es­ti­mated two mil­lion adults ex­pe­ri­enc­ing do­mes­tic abuse.

To put that in con­text, that is one in ev­ery 16 adults in the coun­try – and will in­clude read­ers of this pa­per or pos­si­bly some­one you know.

In the year end­ing March 019, there were more than 73 ,000 do­mes­tic abuse of­fences recorded by po­lice – a

per cent in­crease on the pre­vi­ous pe­riod. For ev­ery one of those calls and recorded of­fences, we know there are many more vic­tims who are suf­fer­ing in the shad­ows.

They may be sub­jected to hor­rific phys­i­cal abuse or ma­nip­u­la­tive con­trol­ling be­hav­iour that leaves their con­fi­dence in tat­ters. The vic­tim may be your doc­tor, your col­league, your sis­ter, your brother, or even your lo­cal MP – as re­vealed re­cently by Rosie Duffield MP.

Her in­cred­i­bly brave tes­ti­mony in the Com­mons demon­strated the or­deal mil­lions in this coun­try face ev­ery day, re­gard­less of their back­ground, job or out­ward self-con­fi­dence.

To­day, the Gov­ern­ment will set out its broad leg­isla­tive agenda through the Queen’s Speech. A key el­e­ment of this will be our land­mark Do­mes­tic Abuse Bill. As Min­is­ter for Safe­guard­ing and Vul­ner­a­bil­ity, I am all too aware of the ur­gency of this Bill ev­ery time I meet peo­ple whose lives have been blighted by abuse. I am re­ally pleased, there­fore, that the Bill has passed an­other im­por­tant stage in the Com­mons and will now be ex­am­ined in de­tail in com­mit­tee after the Queen’s Speech.

I am con­fi­dent that pass­ing a spe­cific Do­mes­tic Abuse Act will help shine a light on this hid­den crime and give vic­tims and their fam­i­lies the strength they need to come for­ward and seek sup­port. Of­fend­ers must also get the mes­sage that their abuse will not be tol­er­ated and they will be dealt with by the law.

The se­ri­ous­ness of this is­sue means we have to con­front it ro­bustly now, and that is ex­actly what the Gov­ern­ment will do. The epi­demic of abuse must end.

The sheer scale of the is­sue means we must keep a laser fo­cus on pro­tect­ing the vul­ner­a­ble vic­tims of do­mes­tic abuse who are re­ly­ing on this leg­is­la­tion to keep them safe.

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