The Centre for Women’s Justice (CWJ), submitted a Police Super Complaint in March 2019 raising concerns that police were failing to use protective measures in cases involving violence against women and girls.
The super complaint set out concerns about four tools the police can use/are involved in, they were concerned that these are not being used to full effect.
• Pre-charge bail
• Non-Molestation Orders
• Domestic Violence Protection Notices and Orders
• Restraining Orders
Following a joint investigation, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and the College of Policing have today published their report showing that they found that there were good examples of the police using these measures, but that there is also a lack of understanding within police forces over how and when to use protective measures, which means support for survivors is not good enough – and could lead to women and girls being harmed, or survivors being less likely to report crime in the future.
Our experience at Solace is that survivors often call the police for immediate safety, but they don’t necessarily want to go through with supporting a prosecution. Survivors know that breaches of police bail are not taken seriously or enforced and often police will not re-arrest the perpetrator unless they are on court bail. Perpetrators of domestic abuse often continue to exert control post-separation, and where they are threatened with prosecution, they can manipulate survivors and the police to minimise the abuse and influence survivors. Which is why it is crucial that these protective measures are properly used and enforced.
One of our other concerns is the lack of discussion of under-resourcing of the police, Crown Prosecution Service and the Courts. The whole criminal justice system needs significant funding to properly tackle the shadow pandemic of violence against women and girls.
Solace believes that training, support and investment is critical to police using protective measures to help keep women and girls safe and to ensure that perpetrators cannot exploit any gaps in knowledge or lack of capacity due to funding.
Read the full report here: