International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – and the day that the coalition government published our cross-government plans to tackle violence against women and girls.

The Home Secretary has allocated more than £28 million for specialist services to tackle violence against women and girls – running up to 2015. These specialist services which support victims of sexual and domestic violence will continue to receive central Home Office funding – including local domestic and sexual violence advisors, services for high risk domestic violence victims , national helplines and work to prevent forced marriage.

This is my portfolio too (as of about six weeks ago) and this cross-government vision and long term priorities for tackling violence against women and girls will be followed up by a full plan of action next spring. There are four key areas that we will focus on. The prevention of violence including reducing repeat victimisation, the provision of support, the bringing together of groups to work in partnership and action to reduce risk by ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice.

For the first time the strategy brings together work to tackle violence against women in the UK with details of the international approach to tackle this global problem. In fact that includes my own appointment, announced today, as Overseas Champion to lead on the UK’s international work.

This is a departure from the narrow focus of previous strategies – where whilst continuing the pressure to bring perpetrators to justice – we put a big emphasis on changing and challenging behaviours and attitudes. We need early intervention – making sure young people understand the importance of healthy relationships and respecting the right to say no.

We put emphasis too on the importance of training for professionals and front line staff to spot early signs and risk factors of domestic and sexual violence, child sex abuse and harmful practises – including a new e-learning training course for GPs on violence against women and children.

There are new powers to help domestic violence victims break the cycle of abuse including piloting in three areas Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPO). Until now – post a domestic violence incident – it has been the abused partner and the children who have had to leave the home and seek refuge elsewhere. These civil orders enable the police to use their judgement to issue a DVPO where it is then the perpetrator of the violence post an incident who has to leave the vicinity. This is decided at super-intendent level and is for 48 hours at which point it can be extended to between 14 and 28 days – subject to a magistrate’s decision. This applies equally to men as to women.

Internationally it’s about supporting innovative new projects in the poorest countries and working with international organisations and governments overseas to promote women’s rights globally and reduce the impact of conflict on women and girls.

Domestic violence is sadly an everyday occurrence. Last year there were more than one million female victims of domestic violence in England and Wales – nearly two women each minute. And every week two of those women lose their lives. Each year 300,000 women were sexually assaulted and 60,000 women were raped. It is a shaming indictment of the way we are.

This is a priority for the coalition government – and for me!

0 thoughts on “International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

  1. I guess first on your hitlist will be Officer UC2128 who kicked a 15 year old girl at yesterday’s protest in Whitehall.

    If you need help tracking the officer down, I can tell you that the violence was perpetrated while suppressing the rights of peaceful protesters to express their dissatisfaction at the increase to tuition fees enabled by the LibDem’s massive u-turn over education policy.

    There was some coverage in the news – you might have seen it.

  2. “This is a departure from the narrow focus of previous strategies”

    Using sexist and dishonest terminology which spreads the myth that domestic violence is a gender issue is not only extremely harmful to male vicitms, but narrow minded also.

    To suggest that using language deliberately ignoring 40% of vicitms is some sort of inclusive and widening of policy is laughable and a disgrace.

    Incidentally it was International Men’s Day last week. Didn’t see any posts on that, nor any specific policies relating to it. In fact it wasn’t just Lynne being sexist there, seems the rest of her government did too (not to mention the entire opposition also).

    One final point. For a party supposedly concerned with civil liberties to support evicting innocent people form their own homes without trail is shameful. You often blogged on here about civil liberties issues, yet now you’re in power you’re starting to head down exactly the same route as New labour.

    We need more policies discouraging and prosecuting false allegations. Will there at least be some severe punishments for those making false abuse allegations and anonymity for those accused of abuse until it’s proven please?

    (in fact anonymity is needed for any crime where it’s just one person’s word against another really)

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  4. Hi Lynne,

    Here’s a question for you as the Coalition’s Minister for Equalities. In the Coalition’s Programme for Government it states: “We will use our relationships with other countries to push for unequivocal support for gay rights and for UK civil partnerships to be recognised internationally.”

    However some of the Coalition’s MEPs have been trying to block a motion calling for recognition of civil partnerships across Europe. You can read about it here:-

    What is your position on this issue please?

  5. Does your commitment to fighting violence against women include condeming the use of kettling – a form of collective punishment – against teenage girls? Seem to remember your party opposed it once – but perhaps it was just one of “those” pledges …

  6. Serenus how it works is that this is a new definition of “pledges” quite distinct from the old style of pledges.

    You come a distant third in an election and form a pact with a group of people you are supposed to have nothing whatever in common with.

    You come up with a phrase- “pluralism” – which you make sound new when actually it’s not but is a euphemism for “cannot possibly gain power on our own”. It means you must sell your soul and pretend it’s a new form of politics.

    You can then parp on about “new” progressives who actually love the Thatcherite policies that you are supposed to hate but secretly always admired and would have gone for had it not been for the beardy sandals crew in your party.

    What can you expect from a bunch whose leading female voice informs us of the horrible experience she had in her first job (and I am not belittling that in any way as it was repellent) but whose politicisation wasn’t caused by those events? The seismic issue that brought out the political animal in my local MP was….car parking.

  7. Dave – yes aware of Eu issues on civil partnerships – and was in Brussels on Wednesday at a meeting of EU ministers on violence against women but in side meeting with EU commissioner raised this issue directly. From what I picked up – there is a complicated set of views and competences that I need to work my way through. And yes – I am pursuing this.

  8. Perhaps you can raise a complaint against the policy which allows the Metropolitan Police to kettle young children in the freezing temperatures for hours on end for doing no more than exercising their democratic right to protest. This is a form of hostage taking and torture, and does amount to voilence and psychological intimidation. Lib Dems are against ‘kettling’ I believe.

  9. Strange how Lynne only replies to the most off-topic post out of any of them!

    Here are the on topic quesitons which need answering

    1. How does evicting innocent people from their homes without trial fit into your party’s stance on civil liberties?

    2. Will there at least be some severe punishments for those making false abuse allegations and anonymity for those accused of abuse until it’s proven please?

    3. How did you mark International Men’s day?

    Many thanks.

  10. I have yet to see any Minister for Equalities of whatever party stand up for men’s rights – or don’t we have any these days ?
    Men constitute one in 3 of all domestic violence victims, yet where is the funding; where is the political acknowledgement ?
    In Eureop it is the same but writ larger.
    Is it a case of, if we ignore it it won’t exist ?
    Ironically it was men who largely pushed thru reforms for women inc DV and funded refuges, eg Lord Astor and the Chiswick Refuge, but no womaan has stepped up to the plate for male victims ! !