Labour pledges swifter safeguarding moves amid domestic abuse reform

April 14, 2024
[caption id="attachment_6637" align="aligncenter" width="689"]Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said governments have been treating violence against women and girls as an ‘inevitability’ (Maja Smiejkowska/PA) Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said governments have been treating violence against women and girls as an ‘inevitability’ (Maja Smiejkowska/PA)[/caption] Labour measures aimed at guaranteeing faster safeguarding would give police a 24-hour period in which to determine whether to pursue civil orders intended to protect victims immediately following acts of domestic violence. The party declared that it will give troops "tight" deadlines to decide whether to apply the sanctions as soon as violations are recorded. Labour has announced that a new system linking police and court databases will also be implemented to enable officers to monitor in real time if an individual has been subjected to an order, instead of having to wait for notification. Plans such as the one that killed 22-year-old Raneem Oudeh and her mother, 49-year-old Khaola Saleem, 11 days after she obtained a non-molestation order against her ex-partner, are intended to be avoided. Labour says measures such as domestic violence protection orders are “chronically underused despite having the potential to save lives”. The party says its plans would ensure forces have to account for why protective tools have not been deployed in relevant cases as there is currently no statutory duty on officers to formally consider whether such orders would be appropriate. It is the latest in a series of announcements about the party’s promise to introduce “Raneem’s Law”, which is aimed at transforming the way the police handle cases of violence against women and girls. Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said she is “sick and tired of women and girls facing the same threats of violence and abuse, generation after generation”. Labour is warning that Britain has become “desensitised” to stories about dead women following a spate of high-profile murders in recent years, including those of Sarah Everard, Zara Aleena, Sabina Nessa, Ms Oudeh and Ms Saleem. Ms Cooper said: “For too long, governments have treated violence against women and girls as an inevitability instead of the emergency that it is. “Week after week we see stories of women being killed, appalling failings by organisations charged with keeping them safe, and weak assurances that ‘lessons will be learned’ – yet nothing is changing, and families across the country are being utterly devastated as a result. “After Sarah Everard was killed, women across the country demanded action, but too little has changed. “After Raneem Oudeh was killed, we expected major overhauls in policing and the criminal justice system, but barely anything was done. The passive response from the Government to these terrible crimes is just hopeless.” She said a Labour government would overhaul “every aspect of society’s response to these heinous crimes” and ask police to “strain every sinew and use every tool in their arsenal to pursue dangerous perpetrators who pose a risk to women and to keep victims safe from harm”. Other pledges previously announced by the party include the introduction of specialist rape and sexual assault units in every force, domestic violence call handlers in every 999 control room and a new “perpetrator programme” to target the 1,000 most dangerous abusers and sex offenders who pose a risk to women. A Conservative spokesman said: “No woman or girl should ever feel unsafe at home or in public, and whilst we have reduced violent crime by 51%, we have a plan to do more to end this abuse. “We are implementing our Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy, toughening up sentences for offenders, requiring Chief Constables to deal with VAWG as a national threat and launching support in the community for victims. “We have 20,000 more police officers on the street and we have cut crime by 55%, and we are sticking with the plan to drive down crime further to ensure our streets and communities are a safer place to live and raise a family. “The reality is where Labour are in power, you are 40% more likely to be a victim of crime, because they are soft on crime and don’t have a plan to tackle it.”