Violence against women: when will this 'acceptable' behaviour be punished?

Written by Eseoghene – Gateway Learning Community Trust

The criminal justice system is failing all the women and girls who become victims of sexual assault, rape, and domestic abuse. Victims of these crimes face delays of up to four years to have their case heard in court and are not receiving the appropriate support they need!

For the year ending in March 2020, the Crime Survey for England and Wales estimated that 7.1% of adults aged 16 to 74 years had experienced sexual assault. Domestic violence, already widespread across Britain, skyrocketed during the pandemic, with 260,000 domestic abuse offences occurring between March and June 2020 alone.

‘Reclaim the Night’ protests, where women came together to try for a systemic change – Nov 2020

I believe we aren’t doing enough to ensure the women in our country get the protection and closure they need. Far too many victims never see their case go to court and the experience for those that do can often be traumatic. This can have a serious impact on a victim’s confidence in the criminal justice system and that means the perpetrators continue to get away with their crimes.

Poor prosecution and conviction rates are a key part of the problem when it comes to the justice system’s response to violence against women and girls. However, I also feel like we need more appropriate sentences to deter potential offenders and to convey the seriousness of such behaviours and actions as it is evident there is not enough being done to safeguard women from sexual assault, rape, and domestic abuse.

There NEEDS to be laws that can send a strong signal that violence against women and girls will not be tolerated. with recent polling showing 7 in 10 women consider action to stop sexual harassment, rape and domestic abuse to be inadequate. 9 in 10 (89%) women and three-quarters of men (76%) also said that imposing tougher sentencing for sexual harassment, sexual assault and domestic violence would be effective in making the country safer for women and girls. I also believe for victims there needs to be more sufficient support put in place for their mental health and safeguarding.

A culture where misogyny is permissible underpins many of the violent and abusive crimes perpetrated against women and girls. In the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard, UN Women UK released data showing that 97% of young women have been sexually harassed, and more than 70% of women of all ages have suffered this abuse.

The Labour Party has already been at the forefront of the calls to make misogyny a hate crime. Former Nottingham Police and Crime Commissioner, Paddy Tipping, ensured misogyny was recorded as a hate crime in Nottingham. During the passage of the Domestic Abuse Act, the government secured the piloting of the recording of misogyny as a hate crime in crimes of violence against the person, including stalking, harassment, and sexual offences. Police forces recording misogyny as a hate crime is an important step forward, but the government wants to go further by including sex and gender in the list of protected characteristics in hate crime laws for the first time. At present, there is not one discreet offence of a hate crime offence in England and Wales. However, when the link is shown between the crime and the victim’s protected characteristics, judges can hand out enhanced sentences and increase punishment. I feel that we should ensure that the curriculum address this important hate crime.

Enough is enough!



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