News | Press Release | Statements

15 November 2023

Refuge responds to sentencing measures announced by the Ministry of Justice

Responding to sentencing measures announced by the Ministry of Justice today, Ellie Butt, Head of Policy, Public Affairs, and Research at Refuge, said:

“While we are yet to see the details, Refuge is pleased to see the important exemption of domestic abuse perpetrators announced in the sentencing measures announced by the Ministry of Justice today. We have been urgently calling for clarification around prison sentence reforms since they were announced last month, due to our concerns that survivors could be put at risk by perpetrators being spared of custodial sentences for their crimes.

At Refuge, we often see perpetrators of domestic abuse receiving short custodial sentences, of 12 months or less, despite the serious nature of their crimes. Perpetrators are dangerous and often repeat offenders, who pose a very real threat to the safety of survivors if they aren’t behind bars. On average, 2 women a week are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales. This is a harrowing statistic and shows little chance of changing unless increased protections are put in place for survivors, and issues around the criminal justice system are addressed.

The Government have recognised that short custodial sentences are largely ineffective for most crimes, and rightly recognised the need to enforce custodial sentences for dangerous offenders such as perpetrators of violence against women and girls. We agree these offenders should not evade prison and urge the government to go further and use the Sentencing Bill to increase the sentences for domestic abuse crimes and strengthen protections for survivors.”