22017Mar

Crackdown on domestic crime that destroys lives

Domestic violence and abuse is a life-shattering and absolutely abhorrent crime. It destroys lives, wreaks havoc in families and must be stopped.

Michelle Donelan’s column in the Gazette & Herald 02 March 2017

Domestic abuse is defined as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence. It does not have to be a physically violent act. Psychological and or emotional abuse, financial abuse, harassment and online or digital abuse all form part of domestic abuse. It is very common.

Regular readers of my columns will know that I am a Trustee of a Wiltshire based charity helping victims of domestic violence (HVDV) and tackling this is something that I have always pushed for. It was immensely pleasing, after significant campaigning, that last week the Prime Minister announced a new law to increase prosecutions for domestic violence and eradicate a postcode lottery in the way victims are dealt with by police forces will be brought forward.

I share the Prime Minister’s optimism that the plans have the potential to completely transform the way we think about and tackle domestic violence and abuse.

There are thousands of people who are suffering at the hands of abusers, often isolated and unaware of the options and support available to them to end it.

On average, two women in England and Wales are killed by their current or former partner every week. The number of prosecutions relating to violence against women and girls in England and Wales reached a record level in 2015-16, rising by almost 10% to 117,568. It is not exclusive to women and many men are abused by their partner, often suffering in silence.

A consultation will begin soon and I will certainly ensure that the views of Wiltshire residents are heard. If you have any views on this important issue, please do share them with my by emailing michelle.donelan.mp@parliament.uk or by calling 01249 704465 to book a surgery appointment.

Another area that I have been strongly campaigned for is a funding application from Wiltshire College to transform Chippenham’s Lackham campus by building an Agricultural Technology Centre. It was great, therefore, to see the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, in Chippenham last week to announce that Wiltshire College has indeed secured more than £20 million funding as part of an overall £28.1 million investment for key projects in the area. These funding bids are very hard to achieve, so congratulations to all those involved for their hard work. It will be of huge benefit to our community and the next generation.

I hold a surgery each week around the constituency. Please do contact my office to arrange an appointment.

Also published online at www.gazetteandherald.co.uk