I was very proud to be invited to speak at the recent Unison’s regional women’s conference. It was an honour to be in the company of so many strong, active women. We listened to the challenges facing those tackling domestic violence and some of the women shared their stories which I found very moving and at times hard to listen to.
The facts about domestic violence are staggering. Domestic violence constitutes 23 per cent of all violent crime and every three days a woman dies, killed by her partner or ex-partner.
The women’s stories I listened to were incredibly brave, both in what they have experienced and having the courage to recognise what was happening to them was wrong and seeking help to put an end to it.
On average, a woman is beaten 35 times before she contacts the police for help. It is not something women do lightly and yet domestic violence has been downgraded by this government with prosecution rates falling as services are made more vulnerable due to coalition cuts.
So I was particularly pleased to hear Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, pledging to make domestic violence a crime in an effort to increase that falling prosecution rate. In her words it is “an incredibly serious crime”, one that affects one in four women and must not be ignored. I am so pleased that the Labour Party recognises this and aims to do more to tackle it. I think the women I met recently would think so too.
I would like to hear your views. Please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and look out for me on the doorstep.
Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate for Morecambe and Lunesdale.