Stop telling us domestic violence is inevitable

Dr. Frances Ryan

Reading through Tuesday’s two damning reports into domestic violence and the police handling of it, that old adage comes to mind: the test of any civilised society is how it treats its vulnerable. It’s increasingly hard to deny that it’s not only the individual men who choose to abuse their wives, girlfriends, exes or relatives who are failing this test, but also the state services meant to protect their victims.

Almost three-quarters of police forces in England and Wales are letting down “vulnerable victims” – defined as children, disabled people and people subjected to repeat abuse – according to the police inspectorate. Of the 43 police forces in England and Wales, HMIC judged just 12 to be good and none to be outstanding at protecting vulnerable people. This is evidence of a widespread failure to assess or support the very victims who need it most, by the very people entrusted…

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