Rishi Sunak vows closer tracking of ‘controlling and coercive’ domestic abusers

Rishi Sunak vows closer tracking of ‘controlling and coercive’ domestic abusers
Опубликовано: Monday, 20 February 2023 04:13

Police forces also ordered to treat violence against women and girls as a ‘national threat’ for the first time.

LONDON — Domestic abusers face stricter monitoring under a clampdown unveiled by Rishi Sunak Monday.

The U.K. prime minister kicks off the week with a package of planned reforms aimed at cutting down on the “appalling” crimes, including new duties on a host of public bodies to keep track of and manage convicted offenders.

The government is promising that those handed a year or more in prison or given a suspended sentence for “controlling or coercive behavior” will now be put on a par with offenders convicted of physical violence. It means they will be actively “managed” by the police, prison and probation services, who will have a legal duty to work together.

Meanwhile, a new, small-scale trial program of “Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and Orders” is being set up in parts of Wales, Manchester and London, imposing fresh requirements on perpetrators including potential electronic tagging and a requirement to tell police about name and address changes. Breaches will be treated as a fresh criminal offense.

The U.K. government is also promising to beef up a nationwide scheme known as “Ask for ANI,” which already sees staff in pharmacies across the country trained to discreetly assist victims who approach shop counters and give the “ANI” codeword. The program will now be trialed in 18 social security offices in the U.K.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman is also ordering police forces to treat violence against women and girls as a “national threat” for the first time.

In comments released overnight by No. 10, Sunak said: “No woman or girl should ever have to feel unsafe in her home or community and I am determined to stamp out these appalling crimes.”

Sunak’s government last year unveiled £257 million in fresh funding over two years to help local councils provide refuges and shelters for those fleeing domestic abuse.

But campaign group Women’s Aid warned that more than £800 million would be needed to “sustainability fund all specialist domestic abuse services in England,” and said some services were struggling to stay afloat amid soaring energy costs.

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