Refuge statement on Policing Bill debate
Refuge and campaigner Erica Osakwe respond to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill debate.
Ruth Davison, CEO of Refuge said: ‘We are grateful to Yvette Cooper for today raising the issue of common assault perpetrated in domestic abuse contexts and the ‘timing out’ of access to justice for so many women who are unsafe or unable to report the incident to police immediately. Women like Erica Osakwe, who launched ‘victims too’ last year, after reporting her abuse to the police, only to have her case closed almost as soon as it was opened. Women like Erica deserve so much more, and Refuge is grateful to Victoria Atkins for acknowledging the need for action and committing to look into solutions. Refuge stands ready to support any and all efforts to better protect women and girls experiencing domestic abuse.’
Erica Osakwe, survivor and organiser of Victims Too said: ‘When I started this petition in October last year, I hoped to secure a parliamentary debate. Today, I sat at home and heard Yvette Cooper raise this issue as part of the policing bill, and I couldn’t be happier. Thank you, Yvette, for listening to women like me and acting, Thank you also to Refuge, Women’s Aid and the Centre for Women’s Justice for helping amplify my campaign and push for change. Together, we are stronger. Thank you to Victoria Atkins for listening to the need for change. Women like me deserve better.’
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Refuge supports more than 7,000 women and children on any given day, and runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, which is the gateway to accessing specialist support across the country. More than one in four women in England and Wales experiences domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime, and two women a week are killed by a current or former partner.
Please signpost to Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247, available 24 hours a day 7 days a week for free, confidential specialist support. Or visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk to fill in a webform and request a safe time to be contacted or to access live chat (live chat available 3pm-10pm, Monday to Friday). For real time automated guidance on how to secure your personal devices Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool.