Worsening economy linked to more domestic violence

By Alex Gangitano

The recession is making domestic violence worse, statistics show.

The National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) claimed to have found a statistical link between the economic downturn and an increase in domestic violence.

Domestic violence has increased by 17% over the period of the recession.

"Combine that with the government's action plan to call an 'end to violence' and we have serious concerns," Mark Groves, operations director of the NCDV, said.

The government's action plan requires domestic violence victims have to prove 'a high risk of violence' before they can qualify for legal aid.

The NCDV fears the number of victims of abuse who claim legal aid will reduce significantly, putting their lives and their children's lives at danger.

For the government's plan to be effective, the NCDV is calling on the legal aid process to be restructured.

The government has already been warned funding for violence against women programmes could be cut completely.

In 2011, 2,174 assaults were reported each day in England and Wales – or three every two minutes.

In London, services for women seeking help from abusive relationships have been cut by £1.9 million since 2009.

Labour shadow home office minister Stella Creasy said the numbers showed "why we need a step change on how we treat violence against women".

The government cuts affect all areas of service for violence against women, including rape crisis centres, refuge centres, domestic violence outreach, services for ethnic minority women, trafficked women and women in prostitution.