Domestic Violence Law Reform Campaign

Sara Charlton Charitable Foundation are currently working in partnership with Paladin, the first National Stalking Advocacy Service devoted to supporting high risk victims of stalking and Women’s Aid the key national charity working to end domestic violence against women and children and support a network of over 350 dedicated specialist domestic violence services across the UK. We have joined together to campaign for a new law that criminalises domestic violence. Some of the most dangerous cases happen when domestic violence, stalking and coercive control co-occur. This is where women and children are more likely to be murdered and early identification and intervention is vital to saving lives. The laws used to prosecute domestic violence – including breach of a restraining order, damaging property, assault, burglary, rape, kidnapping and murder – do not describe it’s essence. It misses the fact that domestic violence is about fear and a pattern of continuing acts. However, the Crown Prosecution Service only prosecutes for a single event and tends to focus on the injury level. As a direct result, the seriousness of the pattern of abuse is not identified or understood, victims become entrapped, abuse and rape become normalised and no-one goes to prison without injuries being present. Put simply, the criminal law does not conceive many women in abusive relationships as victims of ongoing abuse. Unacceptable controlling, domineering and demeaning behaviours currently fall outside the law and cumulative harms are ignored when each abusive incident is treated as an isolated offence. Victims often report that “the violence isn’t the worst part” of being abused and that the non-violent forms of abuse can be more devastating than physical or sexual violence. However, current law also leads to minimisation of abuse by police and courts. Only 3 men are convicted and punished for abuse for every 100 reports of abuse by men. A more comprehensive criminal law is needed to close the gap between the current response and the long term oppression and suffering of victims and children. It will save lives and money. We want to hear from victims of domestic abuse. Your experiences will help us campaign to keep victims and their families safe.

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Campaign Overview and Supporting Documents

Sara Charlton, Paladin and Women’s Aid (2014) – Strengthening the Law on Domestic Abuse Home Office Consultation Response Sara Charlton, Paladin and Women’s Aid (2014) – Domestic Violence Campaign Sara Charlton, Paladin and Women’s Aid (2014) – The Victim’s Voice Survey: Victim’s Experience of Domestic Violence and the Criminal Justice System Sara Charlton, Paladin and Women’s Aid (2014) – Domestic Violence Law Reform – Domestic Violence Professional Survey Results Tuerkheimer, D (2013) Breakup Yale Journal of Law and Feminism (51) Sara Charlton, Paladin and Women’s Aid (2014) Think Twice: 12 Domestic Violence Myths Brooks Newmark MP (April 2014)  Brooks Newmark recommends changes to legal and police procedures to better protect victims of domestic violence. UN Raconteur Press Release (April 2014) – Special Rapporteur on violence against women finalizes country mission to the United Kingdom and calls for urgent action to address the accountability deficit and also the adverse impacts of changes in funding and services. Baroness Thornton (May 2014) Out of Control

Parliamentary Debates & Questions Baroness Thornton – Question for Short Debate – Domestic Violence – House of Lords (13/05/2014) Baroness Gale – Question: Domestic Violence – House of Lords (13/05/2014)


You may also be interested in our press releases and articles available on our media page.

Domestic Violence Survey

If you have been a victim of domestic violence, or you are a professional working in the domestic violence sector, you are invited to take our survey.