New laws added to support those affected by domestic abuse
This week is the eighth annual NO MORE Week, the annual, international opportunity to raise awareness of domestic abuse and sexual violence, inspiring individuals, organisations, and communities to make change.
NO MORE Week runs from 7th – 13th March 2021, coinciding with International Women’s Day which was on 8th March 2021. It also falls in the same week new laws have been added to the Domestic Abuse Bill to help protect victims. Of particular prevalence to this amendment has been:
- New offence of non-fatal strangulation to be introduced as part of ground-breaking legislation
- Controlling or coercive behaviour offence extended to include abuse where perpetrators and victims no longer live together
- ‘Revenge porn’ offence widened to cover threats to share intimate images
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) chief executive, Clare Kelly, said:
“From the OPCC’s £2m budget set for 2021/22, £891k was for services specific to supporting women. This funding supports individuals and families that have experienced Domestic Abuse and those who have experienced sexual trauma.
“I would much rather live in a world where these crimes did not occur and therefore we would not need to spend on providing these services, however our data and our interactions with our service users tells us the need is still here and we must continue to provide accordingly.
“People say to me; why do we need an International Women’s Day? I respond by showing them our crime statistics, I will take them through what the reality of the world we are living in today is and explain it is down to leaders, commissioners of services and our wider society to stand up and say ‘this is still not right, we must do more, we must work together to make things better’.”
NO MORE Week is for all people who have experienced domestic abuse or sexual trauma. and the OPCC has recently supported bespoke workstreams to support men in this area, but the crime type is still disproportionality committed against women and girls.
This week is a time for everyone; individuals, non-profit and corporate organisations, communities and groups across the UK to unite and keep the conversation going around domestic abuse and sexual violence.
Simon Powell, head of victim care at the OPCC’s Signpost service for victims in Bedfordshire, said:
“Silence and lack of knowledge can play a large part in why perpetrators continue to offend. Simply wanting to help and learn more is a huge step toward ending this abhorrent crime.”
Knowing what to say to someone who may be experiencing these crime types can be overwhelming. The most important thing to remember is that you don’t need to be an expert — you need to be available to listen.
- Listen without judgement
- Let them know that you believe them
- Ask what more you can do to help
- Support their decisions
- Take care of yourself too. Make sure you seek support and help if you are feeling overwhelmed
Signpost, the service for Bedfordshire for those that have experienced crime are also available for concerned colleagues, friends and family who do not know what to do when this situation arises.
If you would like to learn more follow the hashtag #WhatICanDo on social media to see how everyone can play a significant role in preventing these crimes and to also find out how you can promote equality and respect in your communities, schools, universities and workplaces.