There is increasing evidence that domestic abuse instances have increased during lockdowns and many of us who work with schools will be aware of the concerns of education professionals that closing schools meant putting some young people into potentially unstable home settings for longer periods of time. The Domestic Abuse Bill is currently before Parliament and whilst welcome, this motion highlights how councils can push for further measures to protect the vulnerable.
Tracking Stalkers and Domestic Abusers
Council notes that:
- Stalking and domestic abuse are crimes which are insidious and terrifying, usually committed by men against women. They are crimes which follow a pattern, where the offender goes from victim to victim, and yet many remain undetected and unconvicted.
- The evidence shows that domestic abuse has become more prevalent during the Covid-19 Lockdown. Some stalkers and domestic abusers go on to commit murder, and tragically the domestic homicide rate, mostly of women, continues to increase.
- Despite clear warning signs that such crimes are often repeated and follow a pattern, much offending behaviour remains undetected by the Police, probation and other agencies, and offenders are left at large.
- Although the provisions of the Domestic Abuse Bill now before Parliament are welcome, the Bill is manifestly deficient in not addressing the importance of robustly tracking and apprehending these offenders.
Council further notes that:
- Whilst the Domestic Abuse Bill would place Clare’s Law (the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme) on a statutory footing, this will place the onus upon victims to come forward to seek information about their partner or a family member, with the dangers that can attend the process of disclosure.
- There is no duty on police services to identify, track and manage stalkers and domestic abusers.
Council believes that:
- It is imperative that serial stalkers and domestic abusers are prioritised and proactively identified, assessed and managed by Police, probation and other relevant agencies.
- A cultural shift is urgently needed, one where we prioritise and focus on the perpetrator, ask questions about their offending behaviour, collect and share intelligence about their offending behaviour, assess and manage their behaviour, seek to hold them to account and close their behaviour down.
- The details of stalkers and domestic abusers should be included on the Violent and Sexual Offender’s Register and managed via the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements.
Council resolves to ask the Chief Executive to write to the Home Secretary asking her to make these changes to more effectively track and apprehend stalkers and domestic abusers, and to copy in our local Member(s) of Parliament and the [Mayor and Deputy Mayor/Police and Crime Commissioner] asking them to make representations to the Home Secretary in support of the Council’s position.