Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls

Thank you for contacting me recently concerning violence against women and girls.

I agree that the current level of violence against women and girls is far too high and that too little is being done to prevent these crimes, to support victims and bring perpetrators to justice.

There were an estimated 1.4 million female victims of domestic violence last year and two women are killed each week by their partner or ex-partner in the UK. Reports of rape and domestic violence are up, yet the number of prosecutions and convictions are down. At the same time, specialist prosecutors for rape have been cut back, domestic violence courts are closing, and specialist police officers are overstretched.

A Labour Government will place women’s safety centre stage, doing all we can to help women and children trapped in cycles of violence. We will strengthen domestic violence laws, ban police using community resolutions for domestic and sexual violence and appoint a new national Commissioner to set minimum standards in tackling domestic and sexual violence and integrate the protection of women and girls across government. Labour will also establish a new National Refuge Fund to support women and children when they most need it and provide funding stability for Rape Crisis Centres across the country.

Crucially, a Labour Government will also do more to prevent violence and harassment happening in the first place, including by introducing age-appropriate compulsory sex and relationship education to teach zero tolerance of violence in relationships among girls and boys. We will also support international efforts to tackle human trafficking and sexual exploitation and look closely at ratifying the Istanbul Convention, which I know many women’s groups support.

Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views.