News | Press Release | Statements

5 July 2024

Refuge responds to the general election results

Responding to the general election results, Amy Bowdrey, Policy and Public Affairs Officer at Refuge, said:

“Refuge looks forward to working with this new government particularly around their ambitious pledge to halve violence against women and girls (VAWG) within a decade, for them to be successful in this commitment there is a lot of work to be done.
We are pleased that the Labour Party in their manifesto supported our ask to bring in automatic suspensions for police officers accused of domestic abuse and sexual offences, to root out potential perpetrators within the force and tackle the institutional misogyny. This campaign win for Refuge was backed by 50,000 of our supporters. We know for survivors of domestic abuse to be able to report the crimes committed against them they need to be able to trust the police. We’d like to see the Government bring this policy in immediately to rebuild women’s low trust and confidence in the police.
The Government has committed to addressing the horrific backlog for survivors of VAWG seeking justice in the courts, where some survivors have had to wait for years to access justice and conviction rates have dropped to worrying levels. Refuge supports the creation of 80 new specialist rape courts and encourage this work to be prioritised. We call for the Government to urgently review the Early Release Scheme that is currently seeing perpetrators of domestic abuse released early due to prison overcrowding. We need assurances that those convicted of VAWG offences will be exempt from this scheme and any further measures to tackle overcrowding.
VAWG is rooted in misogyny and we are pleased to see in Labour’s manifesto their pledge to make misogyny a hate crime, something we campaigned for in 2022. In order to reduce violence against women and girls we need to focus on prevention and understanding as to how it manifests.
However, to truly tackle VAWG the Government needs to put survivors at the heart of the system and the focus of this needs to be funding specialist support services for survivors that have been impacted by austerity underfunding for over a decade. There were no specific commitments to fund these services that are a lifeline for survivors in Labour’s manifesto and Refuge calls on the Government to urgently address the underfunding of these services so that they can be there for the women and children that desperately need them.
More generally, Refuge is pleased to see there will be a record number of women in the House of Commons, with the number of female MPs already surpassing the previous all-time high of 220 in 2019, there’s still work to be done in ensuring we truly achieve 50/50 gender equality in parliament which is vital if women’s issues are to be given the prominence that they deserve, but today’s news feels optimistic that more women’s voices will be heard and involved in shaping a fairer society.”