Labour ‘letting down’ domestic violence victims

Labour has been accused of letting down the victims of domestic violence as the charity Refuge launches a campaign to highlight to problem.

The group say two women are killed in domestic violence incidents every week in the UK, and are publicising early warning signs of domestic abuse for women to look out for.

The Conservatives have seized on the campaign to cast a spotlight on the government’s failure to address the situation.

Theresa May, shadow minister for women, said: “We need to focus on preventing domestic violence but the government has largely ignored preventative work and instead has passed more criminal justice legislation – and even this hasn’t been implemented properly.

“Why have they still not implemented the domestic violence restraining orders that were promised four years ago? This Labour government is letting down domestic violence victims.”

But the government hit back at the suggestion. A Home Office spokesperson told “Huge progress has been made to support victims of domestic violence and bring perpetrators to justice.

“The government is already protecting victims by providing specialist multi-agency support, independent domestic violence advisers and domestic violence courts.

“Across government we will continue to look for further ways to protect the vulnerable and put a stop to this pernicious crime.”

Refuge is launching a poster campaign later in the month highlighting the early-warning signs of abuse. It says research shows a worrying lack of awareness among women of the techniques used by violent men to control women.

Eighty-seven per cent of women said they received no information about domestic abuse when they were in school, and yet nearly all the women questioned say they would have liked to have.

Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge, said: “Two women are killed every week by a current or former partner. This is a huge statistic and one that we need to start addressing – and addressing fast if we’re to save lives and protect young women in the future.

“It is essential that women receive the right education and information so they can understand the techniques of control frequently used by abusive men.

“It’s all too easy for women to excuse their partner’s possessive and jealous behaviour – but in so doing they run the risk of the abuse increasing in frequency and severity over time. By understanding the signs early a woman is forewarned and forearmed.”

Cherie Blair, who is supporting the campaign, said: “Refuge’s campaign is a warning siren to all women, no matter what their age or background. Everyone has the right to live free from control and violence. Don’t ignore the warning signs.”

Refuge’s signs of domestic abuse

Is he jealous and possessive?

Does he cut her off from family and friends and try to isolate her?

Is he charming one minute and abusive the next, does he have sudden changes of mood – like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?

Does he control her life – for example money, who she should see, what she should wear? Does he monitor her movements?

Does he blame her for the abuse?

Does he humiliate or insult her in front of others?

Does he verbally abuse her?

Does he constantly criticise her?

Does he use anger and intimidation to frighten her and make her comply with his demands?

Does he tell her she’s useless and couldn’t cope without him?

Has he threatened to hurt her or people close to her if she leaves?

Does she change her behaviour to avoid making him angry and triggering an attack?

Does he force her to have sex when she doesn’t want to?