The Statistics never fail to horrify me. One in four women will be a victim of Domestic Violence in their life time. Domestic Violence accounts for 8% of all recorded crime in the UK. Nearly a million children in the UK are affected by domestic abuse. It’s terrible.
Behind each chilling statistic is a story. A story of living in fear of violence. A story of being physically and emotionally bullied, threatened and intimidated. The home and the family should be a place of security and support. Instead, for many, it’s a place of fear and violence.
This issue goes above and beyond party politics, but it is undeniable that Tory Government policies have made the situation worse. Cuts to Local Authorities have meant fewer services and grant money for charities that protect families from Domestic Violence. A health service at snapping point doesn’t always have the time or know-how to identify issues of Domestic Violence, let alone the resources to deal with the underlying problem. Supported housing and refuges across the country are at risk of closure, or have closed, through disastrous housing and welfare policies.
In Harrow we invested an extra £200,000 into Domestic Violence services; at a time when we have to make tougher and tougher choices about what to prioritise we chose to invest in Domestic Violence – it is the root of too many problems in our communities for us to not prioritise it.
Providing and investing in basic services is the minimum we must do. This is an issue which affects millions, ruins lives and destroys families. Domestic Violence needs the national attention that it merits. If the Tories would stop banging on about Europe they might find that we have some serious problems closer to home that are being ignored.
That is why the Labour Administration running Harrow Council has officially supported the ‘UK says No More’ campaign; this is based on the highly successful ‘No More’ campaign in the US. I am proud that we are the first Local authority in the Country to officially back this campaign to raise awareness and demand more action to end domestic violence. This campaign on its own won’t solve our problems, but it will go some way to making Domestic Violence the political and national priority that it should be.
Cllr Pamela Fitzpatrick
Labour lead for Domestic Violence and Adult Safeguarding