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Government launch domestic violence public consultation

Date:10 MAR 2009

The largest-ever cross-government public consultation to tackle violence against women and girls was launched this week by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. It includes a review into police powers for dealing with serial perpetrators of domestic violence and a review of the sexualisation of teenage girls.

The Together We Can End Violence Against Women And Girls Strategy consultation looks at what more can be done to challenge the attitudes in order to help women and girls feel safer.

A new opinion poll conducted by Ipsos Mori shows that more than one third of respondents know a woman who has been the victim of violence by a man she knows. Furthermore, just over two in five respondents believe that a woman should be held, either partly or fully, responsible for being sexually assaulted or raped if she was flirting heavily with the man before the attack.

The consultation will include public and stakeholder events in 40 towns and cities across England over the next nine weeks. The Home Secretary outlined plans to consult the public and key stakeholders on a wide range of issues including: tackling persistent perpetrators; helping women feel safer when they travel; a fact-finding review into the sexualisation of teenage girls; and the establishment of a new advisory group, with a specific focus on how schools can prevent violence against women.

One in five of all violent crimes reported are related to domestic abuse, while every year one in six of all murders in the UK are domestic violence-related homicides.

Commenting after the launch of the consultation, Nicola Harwin CBE, Chief Executive of Women's Aid, said: "After many years of campaigning, Women's Aid is pleased to see Government recognition of the importance of a national strategy to tackle domestic and sexual violence against women and girls. For a national strategy to work we need to have a secure framework in place, where women and girls in every area have access to fully funded specialist domestic and sexual violence services.

"We also need this to be supported by prevention and public awareness work to educate and inform about violence against women. With a joined up response to domestic and sexual violence across all statutory agencies, improving access to justice and protection, we can together work towards a future where women and girls are safe from violence and abuse."

To respond to the consultation online click here.