Patel backs making violence against women and girls a more serious offence

Government says move would bolster its ‘whole-system approach’ to tackling violence against women and girls.

Priti Patel
Priti Patel

Domestic abuse and sexual offences would be considered “as seriously as knife crime and homicide” under proposals backed by the Home Secretary.

The Government said the move would bolster its “whole-system approach” to tackling violence against women and girls.

Priti Patel is seeking to amend legislation currently going through Parliament, to make clear that domestic abuse and sexual offences can be considered as part of local strategies to tackle serious violence.

The change concerns the proposed new Serious Violence Duty, which would require police, government and health and education bodies to “share insight locally” so they can develop “more holistic strategies” to keep people safe, including through early intervention, the Home Office said.

The Government is planning to add the clarification to the duty via an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

The move follows calls from Domestic Abuse Commissioner Nicole Jacobs for ministers to do more to address what has been described as an epidemic of crime against women and girls.

Ms Patel said: “Any instance of violence towards another human being is sickening and it is incumbent upon all in authority to try and prevent it from occurring.

“There are numerous public sector bodies and agencies with a responsibility to protect young and vulnerable people from harm – and they must get better at working together to deliver for them. That is exactly why the Serious Violence Duty is so important.

“Following tireless work on this important issue by Baroness Bertin, I am bringing forward changes to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to make clear that domestic abuse and sexual offences – which do untold and often long-term damage to victims – can be included in local strategies for tackling serious violence.”

Ms Jacobs said: “I am delighted that the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has listened and taken this decision which marks a huge step forward in the Government’s approach to tackling domestic abuse and sexual violence.

“It sends a very clear message to victims and survivors that tackling and preventing domestic abuse and sexual violence are top priorities and not optional extras.

“This amendment will ensure there is an early intervention, public health focused approach to tackling serious violent crime.”

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