By Sally Edgar.
Police may be given the power to warn women against potentially violent partners as the Government reveals a plan to tackle domestic abuse.
Men that have had previous offenses could be placed on a register, identifying them as a potential risk to women. This would be monitored by police who could have the authority to warn these offender’s girlfriend’s of their history. If neccessary, police could also be given powers to ban offenders from the family home for a fortnight.
These plans have been listed in a consultation document due to published by the Home Office. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith hopes that if the ideas are passed they could help to protect women and reduce their exposure to domestic violence.
“At the moment we have orders that quite often individual women take out on their partners, or ex-partners, if they have been abusive to them.
“Perhaps we ought to turn that round and say that the order ought to attach to the perpetrator, to the usually man, who has actually had a series of offences; that might be one way of doing it.
“Or perhaps there may be times when it is appropriate for people to actually be given information by the police that somebody that they have started a relationship with is somebody who has a history of violence.
“We’ve already made real progress with domestic violence incidents more than halving in the past 12 years. But I want to start a national debate on what more we can do to prevent it and challenging attitudes which condone it.”
Even with recent progress there are still a high number of cases of physical or emotional abuse in the home.
And it’s not just women that are suffering from this form of abuse. Jacqui Smith has announced that “Violence against women and girls is unacceptable in any form.” The fact that the report focuses on women victims may leave abused men feeling somewhat unsupported and discriminated against sexually.
In 2007, 142 people died in domestic attacks, including 38 men. Hundreds of thousands of individuals are thought to suffer some kind of abuse behind closed doors every year. Many of these people are too afraid to confront their partners and continue their lives in silence.
Scotland is also hoping to make this issue a high priority. Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has reinforced the importance of fighting for this cause.
“Sadly, violence is part of too many women’s lives across the world. I want today to call on my fellow political leaders in Scotland – let’s put family back at the top of the agenda, let’s have the debate about how we put family back at the heart of society and how we support the family,” she said.