UneQUAL reGArD, UneQUAL proteCtion Public authority responses to violence against BME women in England
“BME women are being “We don’t have local authority discriminated against and the support, so we start on the law is being applied arbitrarily.” back foot. We are seen as some BME woman victim of violence kind of maverick outfit and then vilified.” “[Social services] told me, ‘You’ve BME VAW service provider just come to the UK, you used your husband to get in, so how “The system should know who can he have abused you?’” is more powerful – the victim or BME woman victim of violence the perpetrator? He oppressed “If a woman is a victim of me because he knew about the trafficking that took place on system. I was like a toy that he pulled with a cord.” UK soil, but is unwilling to give BME woman victim of violence a statement to the police, then the crime did not happen and “Public authorities are counting she will get no support.” on BME women not being able BME VAW service provider to fight back.” BME VAW service provider “There is chaos around the women…the women are not “We spend our life with the Home chaotic. No one will face up to Office [Visas & Immigration the fact that the systems we Department] explaining the have to protect BME women impact of trauma.” are not fit for purpose.” BME VAW service provider BME VAW service provider
1 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection this report This report assesses UK Government and public authority responses to violence against Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) women – at both central and local levels – across England. Given the announcement in June 2017 that the Government will bring forward a new Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill; the current crisis in confidence post-Grenfell of local authorities’ ability to meet their safeguarding responsibilities; and increases in community divisions following Brexit which have resulted in a sharp increase in race hate incidents, it is timely. Authored by Sisters For Change working in close partnership with BME partner organisations across England, the report reviews how public authorities are responding to BME women victims of violence and BME violence against women (VAW) service providers. The report presents the most extensive analysis of its kind to date, with a scope that ranges from an evaluation of current practices of commissioning and funding of BME VAW service providers across six local authorities in England, to a legal analysis of the weaknesses in current public authority and criminal justice responses to BME women victims of domestic abuse and slavery, domestic homicide, trafficking and child sexual exploitation, to findings revealing discrimination in the provision of social care and support to BME women victims of violence. The report’s intended audience is Government officials and policy makers, Members of Parliament, Mayors, Police & Crime Commissioners, Local Authority Councillors and VAW Commissioners, senior police officers and health, social service and other officials working on, formulating or implementing VAW laws or policy, or who are taking decisions related to commissioning, funding and delivery of VAW services. The findings and recommendations therefore focus both on suggested policy and legislative improvements as well as challenges in the practical and effective implementation of VAW laws and strategies. Sisters For Change would like to record our thanks to the senior police officers, Police and Crime Commissioners and their officials, local authority VAW commissioning managers and VAW strategy leads who engaged with us during our research and offered candid insights into the challenges they face. We recognise the examples of positive practice being driven at the local level by dedicated individuals, such as the Head of Community Safety at MPS Newham Borough, the Head of Public Protection at West Midlands Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria. The conclusion of this report is that despite positive steps taken to introduce new legislation on VAW and evidence of some innovative initiatives at the local level, the UK Government and public authorities are not effectively safeguarding the rights of BME women victims of violence or adequately supporting the critical BME VAW service providers that serve them. It recommends a rethink of the Government’s approach to combating violence against BME women, including ring-fenced funding for the BME VAW service sector, development of guidelines for local authorities on minimum service provision for BME women victims of violence, and suggests key areas of current legal and regulatory weakness that should be addressed urgently, either through the new Domestic Violence & Abuse Bill or otherwise. We hope that this report will support the calls from Imkaan, the national advocacy organisation for BME VAW service providers, and our BME partner organisations for the Government to strengthen specialist BME service provision and the support provided to BME women victims of violence in order to end the discrimination that has seen BME VAW services disproportionality hit by local authority cost-cutting and the inadequate protection of BME women victims of violence. Sisters For Change September 2017 © Sister For Change 2017 2 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 4 Findings 5 Recommendations 7 Report authors 8 Project partners and project funders
METHODOLOGY 9 Area of review 9 Research methodology 11 l egal and data analysis 11 Key terminology
INTRODUCTION THE NATIONAL PICTURE OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN CHAPTER 1 THE POLICY AND LEGAL FRAMEWORK TO COMBAT VAW IN THE UK 14 UK Government legislative approach to VAW 15 UK Government policy approach to VAW 16 UK Government legal obligations to combat VAW
CHAPTER 2 GOVERNANCE, DEMOGRAPHICS AND VAW DATA OF AREA OF STUDY 20 local governance structures 21 Ethnic diversity and social demographics 22 local authority/Police Force Area financial and crime data related to VAW
CHAPTER 3 BME WOMEN’S EXPERIENCE OF VIOLENCE & ABUSE 24 Summary of findings 24 Stereotyping of BME women 26 BME women’s experience of violence and support service needs 29 BME VAW service providers: a critical point of access 29 Recommendations
CHAPTER 4 INADEQUATE COMMISSIONING & FUNDING OF BME VAW SERVICES 31 Summary of findings 31 Impact of localism & local authority budget cuts on BME VAW services 37 Central Government funding out of reach of BME VAW service providers 38 Government failing to live up to UK VAWG strategy & legal duties 40 Recommendations
CHAPTER 5 NATIONAL WEAKNESSES IN POLICE RESPONSES TO DOMESTIC ABUSE 42 Summary of findings 42 Initial response: failure to accurately assess risk of harm to victims 43 MARAC model failing to protect high risk victims 45 Falling numbers of arrests and sanctions in domestic abuse cases 46 Inadequate use of police powers to protect victims of domestic abuse 47 Recommendations
CHAPTER 6 FAILINGS IN PUBLIC AUTHORITY RESPONSES TO VIOLENCE AGAINST BME WOMEN AND GIRLS 49 Summary of findings 49 Failure to protect BME victims of domestic abuse and slavery 51 Failure to protect high risk BME victims of violence 52 Failure to learn lessons from domestic homicides of BME women 55 Failure to protect BME victims of trafficking 57 Failure to protect BME girls from child sexual exploitation 59 Stereotyping of BME women victims of violence and discrimination in provision of care and support
CHAPTER 7 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE & ABUSE BILL 66 APPENDICES 78 ENDNOTES 1 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Unequal regard, unequal protection
Global concern about the disturbingly high levels of violence against women internationally has led the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to call for governments to recognise domestic homicide as a form of “arbitrary execution” and to provide shelters and protection orders for women victims of violence as “survival tools.” In the UK, the Prime Minister Theresa May has claimed the Conservative Government has delivered “real steps towards tackling domestic violence” over the last 7 years. While there is still no statutory definition or specific criminal offence of domestic abuse in England and laws to tackle violence against women (VAW) and protect victims of violence remain unevenly implemented and applied across the country, the Government’s steps to tackle VAW include a raft of new legislation, much of which was introduced by the Prime Minister in her previous role as Home Secretary. The Prime Minister has made her on-going commitment to combating domestic violence clear. Her 2017 manifesto pledged to support domestic abuse victims to leave partners and to review funding for refuges. The UK Parliament in April this year passed a Bill designed to monitor the Government’s timetable for ratifying the Istanbul Convention. And most recently, the Prime Minister has announced her intention to “completely transform the way we think about and tackle domestic violence and abuse” by bringing forward a new Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill. Whilst we strongly support this initiative, Sisters For Change believes that the new Bill must respond more effectively to the needs and rights of all women, including specifically BME and refugee women. Too often UK legislation and policy are 2 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
designed and developed as though women are one homogenous group, with the result that law and policies fail to address the differentiated needs and intersectional discrimination of BME women and fail to ensure equal outcomes for victims. BME and refugee women experience higher rates of domestic homicide and are 3 times more likely to commit suicide than other women in the UK, and 50% of BME women victims of violence experience abuse from multiple perpetrators. In addition, 40% of BME women live in poverty and BME women are more likely than other women to be living in a deprived area, have experience of the State care system and suffer from discrimination and racism. This report assesses how the UK Government and public authorities – both centrally and locally – are responding to violence against BME women in England and the legislative and policy changes needed to improve protection of BME women victims of violence. Sisters For Change would like to record our thanks to the senior police officers, Police and Crime Commissioners and their officials, local authority VAW commissioning managers and VAW strategy leads who engaged with us during our research and offered candid insights into the challenges they face. We recognise the examples of positive practice being driven at the local level by dedicated individuals, such as the Head of Community Safety at MPS Newham Borough, the Head of Public Protection at West Midlands Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria. The report concludes that despite positive steps taken to introduce new legislation on VAW and evidence of some innovative initiatives at the local level, the UK Government and public authorities in England are not effectively safeguarding the rights of BME women victims of violence or adequately supporting the critical BME VAW service providers that serve them. From an analysis of six local authority areas across five regions in England conducted in partnership with five local BME VAW service providers, and on the basis of an extensive policy and legislative review, and in-depth data and legal case evidence collection and assessment, we make the following findings and recommendations.
Current Government strategy for combating violence against women BME is at risk of stereotyping both the types of violence BME women victims suffer and the response to it. The focus on ‘cultural’ forms of violence such as female genital mutilation moves focus away from combating the everyday forms of violence (domestic and sexual violence) which impact the lives of many BME women. Characteristics of violence against BME women and their corresponding support needs are often different from and more complex than other women due to their BME identity and their lived experiences of intersectional discrimination. BME service providers are a critical point of access and a safe space for BME women victims of violence to find support and obtain assistance to access mainstream statutory services such as health, social services and criminal justice authorities. The localism/devolution agenda has restructured responsibilities for commissioning and providing VAW services to local authorities and Police & Crime Commissioners (PCCs). 3 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
In tandem, cuts in local authority budgets have led to a drive toward generic, low-cost VAW service provision delivered through larger consortia or housing organisations. Both factors have led to commissioning and funding strategies that discriminate against smaller, specialist BME VAW service providers, with the result that most BME service providers are now completely excluded from local statutory authority funding while still being referred the majority of their casework from statutory agencies. Central Government has recognised the funding ‘crisis’ for VAW services that local cost-cutting measures have provoked. The response has been to set up various funds as a stop-gap to sustain refuges and maintain service provision. These funds have further complicated the funding landscape, lack a strategic framework, do not provide guaranteed future spending and, despite Government commitments, are barely reaching BME VAW service providers. This report provides evidence that central Government and local authorities are neither commissioning nor providing services to meet the needs of BME women victims of violence as promised under the national VAWG Strategy and as required under the Equality Act 2010, the Care Act 2014 and the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. Despite improvements in the police response to domestic abuse, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has reported that the majority of police forces across England are failing to accurately assess the nature and level of risk posed to victims by perpetrators of domestic abuse and to use their police powers to pursue criminal justice outcomes. As a result, the arrest rate for perpetrators of domestic abuse fell by 15% across England in 2016. Our case evidence demonstrates gender and racial stereotyping and discrimination by some public authorities in their responses to BME victims of violence. Indicators of coercive control, sexual exploitation and human trafficking are often missed and assessments of care and support needs of BME women and girl victims of violence are frequently inadequate. Alarmingly, reports of marital rape of BME women are often not investigated properly and cultural insensitivity or prejudice is resulting in the humiliation and sometimes the criminalisation of BME women victims of violence.
Local Authority VAW Commissioning officials should conduct more extensive 1 data collection through VAW service providers to develop a more informed range of locally relevant profiles of the needs and experiences of different women and girl victims of violence. Commissioning should be based more closely on the reality on the ground for all local communities.
The Home Office and National College of Policing should develop a multi- 2 agency training course, informed and co-led by BME women’s organisations and experts, for police and local authority personnel to better understand BME women’s experience of violence and intersectional discrimination and how to reduce stereotyping of BME women victims of violence.
Local authorities should review their current strategy of funding larger, 3 ‘generic’ service providers to meet the needs of BME women victims of violence and recognise the critical importance of the pathway provided by small, specialist BME VAW service providers and give BME women victims the choice they want. 4 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
The Government should re-think its current funding and commissioning approach. 4 Localism has resulted in reduced and inconsistent VAW services and a failure to ensure diversity and specialist service provision. The Home Office should adopt a policy of ring-fencing a proportion of central VAW funding for BME specialist service providers.
The Home Office should provide ‘Minimum Service Provision Guidelines for BME 5 women victims of violence’ to ensure that local authorities commission additional non-accommodation VAW services and outreach to support BME women in their local communities.
Police and Crime Commissioners should work together with Local Authority VAW 6 Coordinators to develop a dedicated pathway for referring BME women to BME VAW service providers.
The MARAC model for the protection of high risk victims of domestic abuse should 7 be placed on a statutory footing, with the police designated and funded as the responsible authority with the duty to manage and co-ordinate the protection of high risk victims of domestic violence within their police force areas, and with other agencies under a duty to co-operate with the police in this task.
The police should adopt a zero tolerance approach to marital rape and ensure that 8 all allegations of marital rape are effectively investigated. The Home Office should make it a mandatory requirement to record key information 9 relating to the victim and perpetrator of a domestic homicide, including ethnicity, and all DHR Panels should explicitly assess whether local authorities and agencies met their obligations under the Equality Act.
DHR Panels reviewing the domestic homicide of a BME victim should appoint an 10 expert from a BME VAW organisation and explicitly consider how awareness and understanding of relevant cultural issues impacted public authorities’ responses to BME women victims of homicide.
Trauma-informed training on indicators of human trafficking should be made 11 mandatory for police response officers and front line public services. The Government should commission an independent review of the National Referral 12 Mechanism to assess whether the bifurcation between the UK Human Trafficking Centre deciding on EEA claims and the Home Office deciding on non-EEA cases has resulted in discrimination according to trafficking victim nationality.
Public authorities should be better trained on assessing vulnerability and 13 understanding behaviour associated with trauma and exploitation. Child Safeguarding Services and Adult Safeguarding Services should establish more 14 effective referral systems for vulnerable or at risk BME girls aged 17 and 18. Police services should build structured and professional partnerships with specialist 15 BME VAW service providers in their force areas to improve police responses to risks facing BME women victims of violence.
The Home Office should conduct an independent review analysing the data of 16 children taken into care following a disclosure of domestic abuse to ascertain whether there is a disproportionate number of children removed from BME mothers.
We make separate recommendations regarding the proposed new Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill in Chapter 7.
5 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Sisters For Change (UK registered charity 1165647) is an international non-profit organisation that works to make laws real at the grassroots and make justice work better for marginalised women and girls. Our aim is to ensure that domestic law and policies to combat violence against women have impact in the home, at work and in the community and are within the grasp of every woman, no matter her ethnicity, race, caste, religion, economic status or social background. We work with local communities to combat violence against women and girls through legal empowerment and social accountability strategies. We are currently active in the UK, India and Indonesia, building the legal capacity of marginalised women, human rights defenders, women’s associations, unions and activist networks. We seek to generate systemic change in how governments combat violence, structural change to give women voice and agency in justice mechanisms and social change to end the social acceptance of violence against women and girls. SFC Legal Director Jane Gordon is a human rights lawyer with 20 years’ experience working in human rights and women’s rights at the domestic, regional and international levels. She is Associate Professor (Practice) of Human Rights Law at Middlesex University School of Law. Jane was Human Rights Advisor to the Northern Ireland Policing Board (2003-2008) where she co-devised the first ever framework for monitoring the human rights compliance of the police. In 2009-2010, she was appointed as Human Rights Advisor to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary on its national policing protest review. Jane has advised on human rights accountability mechanisms in India, Iraq, Jordan, Malawi and Turkey and litigated cases before the European Court of Human Rights. Between 2008-2017, Jane was a Senior Fellow at LSE’s Centre for the Study of Human Rights and LSE’s Centre for Women, Peace and Security and is a member of the Foreign Secretary’s Human Rights Advisory Group. SFC Executive Director Alison Gordon is an expert in public policy and international relations and Associate Professor (Practice) in Policy & Accountability at Middlesex University School of Law. Alison served for 10 years in the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office, working in senior policy positions in the Middle East, South America and South Asia. She was awarded an OBE for her work in Iraq in 2006-07. After the FCO, Alison spent 2 years in Asia and the US, completing an MBA at the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology and Columbia University where she researched and wrote on social and public policy issues and funding in Asia. She was the first Advisory Board Chairperson of the Centre for Women, Peace & Security at the London School of Economics in 2015-16. 6 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection PROJECT PARTNERS
London Black Women’s Project (formerly Newham Asian Women’s Project) based in Newham, East London is a women-only organisation and charity working to end violence against women and girls and provide services for BME women in East and North London. LBWP provides services in four key areas: safe and emergency accommodation in refuges; therapeutic and counselling services; dedicated domestic and sexual violence counselling, support and advocacy; rights-based advice and information services.
Panahghar, an Urdu word meaning ‘Safe House’, is a registered charity based in Coventry and Leicester. It is a nationally respected agency with extensive experience in the provision of a range of direct and indirect services to BME and refugee communities, supporting primarily women and their children who are victims of violence to alleviate all forms of domestic violence, abuse, physical and mental distress and poverty in the Midlands.
Ashiana in Sheffield has over 30 years’ experience working with BME and refugee adults, children and young people fleeing domestic and sexual abuse including forced marriage, human trafficking, female genital mutilation, gang violence and ‘honour’ based violence.
The Angelou Centre is a black-led women’s organisation based in Newcastle-upon- Tyne providing a range of services for BME women across the North East region. As well as delivering frontline support, the Centre works at national level to ensure the voices of BME women are represented.
Apna Haq is a charitable organisation which was established in 1994 to meet the needs of South Asian women experiencing or at risk of domestic violence. As a responsive and flexible survivor-led organisation, its identity and work focus has transformed in line with national policy changes, research findings, and the changing demographics and survivors needs in Rotherham. Since 2010 Apna Haq has expanded its organisational identity to become a BME women-led by and for organisation focusing on all forms of violence against women and girls.
PROJECT FUNDERS & SUPPORTERS
We are grateful for the support from the following organisations: GMSP Foundation, an independent Asian Family Foundation founded by Ramesh and Pratibha Sachdev, supported the 18-month research project that led to this report. Matrix Chambers supported the design and printing of this report through the Matrix Causes Fund. Clifford Chance provided pro bono legal advice on EU frameworks for the commissioning and procurement of public services. 7 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection METHODOLOGY
AREA OF REVIEW Sisters For Change conducted a legal research project to assess six demographically diverse cities across five regions in England (London, East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorkshire & the Humber, North East) and analyse how they commissioned services for and responded to BME women victims of violence. In each area, Sisters For Change worked in partnership with a dedicated BME VAW service provider (listed under Project Partners). The area of review comprised: + Newham, East London + Leicester, East Midlands + Coventry, West Midlands + Sheffield, South Yorkshire + Rotherham, South Yorkshire + Newcastle, Northumbria The cities were selected primarily on the basis of their demographic and ethnic make- up, to ensure the review included cities with high, medium and low BME populations and provided a representative spread across England’s nine regions. Additional considerations included whether the locale had a strong BME VAW service provider and whether the area had a prior record for either good or poor practice in relation to combating domestic or sexual violence against women and girls. See Chapter 2 for detailed information on each area. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY The report sets out evidence and data collected from the area of review using five primary research methods: A comprehensive review of UK national policy on combating Violence Against 1 Women (VAW), including local and central Government strategies and plans relating to VAW, legislation and statutory guidance on VAW, commissioning structures, reviews of police practice and service provision relating to VAW, funding sources (and funding cuts). A comprehensive review of international human rights standards on VAW 2 and assessments of UK Government VAW policy, including UN Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) General Recommendations, UN CEDAW and CERD Committee reports on the UK and reports on the UK issued by the UN Special Rapporteur on VAW and UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues. A series of focus group discussions with BME women victims of violence 3 convened in Newcastle, Rotherham and London (“Survivor Voice”). 28 interviews with leaders and managers from BME VAW service providers who 4 offer counselling, rehabilitation, legal and refuge services to BME women victims of violence in the area of review (“Leadership voice”). 8 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
21 interviews with senior police public protection officers from three police forces 5 across the area of study and with public authority officials with responsibilities and duties to combat VAW, including Police & Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and their officials, Local Council Domestic and Sexual Violence Commissioning officials, officials from the Home Office Violence Against Women & Girls and Public Protection Teams, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC). Interviewees are classified according to their area of expertise, as set out in Table 1.
Table 1: Interviewee classifications adopted in the report Classification Definition of function & organisations included in class Government Official Refers to officials from the Home Office, CPS & HMIC Senior police officers Refers to Chief Superintendent, Superintendent or /Senior public Chief Inspectors with responsibility for VAWG crimes protection officers in the police forces in the area of study VAW Commissioning Refers to Local Authority (metropolitan city and borough Official councils and London borough councils) Domestic and/or Sexual Violence Commissioning Managers, Co-ordinators and team members in the area of study BME VAW Refers to leaders, managers, advisors and councillors service provider working in BME specialist VAW support organisations, NGOs and charities BME VAW victim Refers to BME women who have experienced domestic, sexual, physical and/or emotional violence and are or have been supported by a BME VAW specialist provider
Sisters For Change would like to record our thanks to the BME VAW service providers and their clients, the senior police officers, Police and Crime Commissioners and their officials, local authority VAW commissioning managers and VAW strategy leads who engaged with us during our research and gave generously of their time.
6 Evidence and data collection from across the area of review, involving: i. legal analysis of cases of domestic violence, sexual violence and domestic homicide across the area of study. ii. Analysis of income and funding sources of five BME VAW service providers across the area of study. iii. Analysis of BME victim characteristics and pathways to support from five BME specialist services providers across the area of study. iv. Demographic data and crime statistics relating to the area of study compiled by City, Local Authority, Region and/or Police Force Area. The report presents evidence and analysis of cases and victim experiences across the area of study. Victims are not identified by name, local authority area of residence, ethnic grouping or country of origin (if a non-British citizen) for their safety and protection. 9 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
LEGAL & DATA ANALYSIS Evidence and data collected for this report was assessed against the following domestic laws and international standards: + The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). + The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention). + The Human Rights Act 1998. + UK domestic criminal laws on VAW. + The Equality Act 2010, the Equality Act 2010 (Special Duties) Regulations 2011 and related guidance. + Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 and related advice. + The Care Act 2014 and related advice. + EU and UK Public Procurement Regulations, specifically the Public Contracts Directive 2014/24/EU as implemented in the UK in The Public Contracts Regulations. + European Union Victims Directive (2012/29/EU) 2012 as implemented in the UK in the Code of Practice for the Victims of Crime.
KEY TERMINOLOGY BME In this report we adopt the acronym BME as a short form to describe people of non- white descent in the UK. This includes Asian, Black, mixed and other ethnicity groups. We recognise that those that fall within this grouping are not homogenous but adopt the term to ensure consistency with categories adopted by public bodies/partners. Victim We specifically adopt the term ‘victim’ rather than ‘survivor’ when referring to women who have experienced violence to signify their rights and legal standing under the Human Rights Act, criminal law and the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. However, we recognise all BME women who have experienced violence and all those referred to in cases in this report as survivors of violence. VAW/VAWG We adopt the acronym VAW to represent violence against women and refer to VAWG when making specific reference to violence against women and girls. BME VAW service providers We adopt this term to describe the range of non-governmental, charitable and/or social enterprise organisations that exist in England to provide services only for BME women victims of violence, including those providing counselling, advocacy, outreach services, refuge or sheltered accommodation spaces. 10 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection INTRODUCTION: THE NATIONAL PICTURE OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
1 in 10 women in England & Wales suffer domestic violence, sexual assault or rape each year. It is estimated to cost society over £40 billion per year.
In England and Wales, 1.3 million women – or nearly 8% of the female population – have experienced domestic abuse in the last year and a further 416,000 women (3.2% of the female population) are victims of sexual assault each year, one quarter of which are serious sexual assault or rape.1 In terms of fatal male violence perpetrated against women, more than 900 women in England and Wales were killed by men between 2009-15, 64% killed by current or former partners and 8% by their sons.2
For BME women in England, the picture is even more stark. BME and migrant women experience higher rates of domestic homicide and are 3 times more likely to commit suicide than other women in the UK,3 and 50% of BME women victims of violence experience abuse from multiple perpetrators.4 In addition, 40% of BME women live in poverty5 and BME women are more likely than other women to be living in a deprived area, have experience of the State care system and to suffer from discrimination and racism. Of BME women who experience violence, only 37% make a formal report to the police, on average only 9% make an application for a non-molestation order despite 56% suffering from post-separation harassment, and 1 in 4 have insecure immigration status, giving them limited access to welfare and housing benefits.6
The total cost of violence against women in England and Wales is estimated at £40.1 billion per year.7 This comprises the direct cost to the economy (including criminal justice system costs, health and social service costs, housing and refuge costs, civil legal service costs, lost economic output) plus human and emotional costs. The total cost of domestic violence is estimated to be between £16 billion8 - £20.1 billion9 per year and the total cost of sexual violence £21 billion per year.10
STRUCTURE OF THIS REPORT
This report assesses how State authorities – both centrally and locally – are responding to violence against BME women in England and the legislative and policy changes needed to improve protection of BME women victims of violence. The report is divided into 7 chapters. Chapter 1 reviews the policy and legal framework to combat VAW in the UK. Chapter 2 outlines the governance, demographics and VAW data of the area of study. Chapter 3 considers BME women’s experience of violence and abuse. Chapter 4 analyses the inadequate commissioning and funding of BME VAW services. Chapter 5 summarises national weaknesses in police response to domestic abuse. Chapter 6 evidences through case analyses the weaknesses or failings in public authority responses to violence against BME women. Chapter 7 sets out recommendations for the new Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill. 1
the poLiCY AnD LeGAL FrAMeWorK to CoMBAt VAW in the UK 12 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection UK GOVERNMENT LEGISLATIVE APPROACH TO VAW
Global concern about disturbingly high levels of violence against women has led the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to call for governments to recognise domestic homicide as a form of “arbitrary execution”11 and to provide shelters and protection orders for women victims of violence as “survival tools.”12
In the UK, the Prime Minister Theresa May has claimed the Conservative Government has delivered “real steps towards tackling domestic violence”13 over the last 7 years. While there is still no statutory definition or specific legal offence of domestic abuse in English law14 and laws to combat VAW and to protect victims from violence remain unevenly implemented and applied across the country, the Government’s steps to tackle VAW include a raft of new legislation, much of which was introduced by the Prime Minister in her previous role as Home Secretary. This includes: + Mandatory reporting of Forced Genital Mutilation (FGM) - 2015 + Coercive Control Law - 2015 + “Revenge porn” offence - 2015 + Domestic Violence Protection Notices and Orders (DVPOs) - 2014 + Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS), “Clare’s law” - 2014 + Widening of domestic abuse victims to include 16 and 17 year olds - 2013 + Broadened definition of harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 – 2012 The Prime Minister has made her on-going commitment to combating domestic violence clear. Her 2017 manifesto pledged to support victims who wish to leave partners and to review funding for refuges. The UK Parliament in April this year passed a Bill into law outlining a timetable to ratify the Istanbul Convention (the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence). And most recently, the Prime Minister has announced her intention to “completely transform the way we think about and tackle domestic violence and abuse”15 by bringing forward a new Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill (announced in the Queen’s Speech on 21 June 2017). The aim of the Bill is to remedy what No 10 terms “a plethora of different offences and procedures scattered across the statute book” which has lead to “an unacceptable diversity across the country in terms of the degree of effort put in to try and tackle it [domestic violence]” and “inconsistency in the use and effectiveness of the various law enforcement measures across the country.”16 The women’s rights organisation Refuge hailed the move as a major step change: “Refuge has been campaigning for better protection for abused women for 45 years; it is heartening to see such commitment from the Government,”17 while Women’s Aid called it a “one in a generation opportunity” to remedy the “postcode lottery of services and a justice system that does not understand [victim’s] experiences.”18 Whilst we strongly support the new initiative, Sisters For Change believes the new Bill must respond more effectively to the needs and rights of all women, including specifically BME and refugee women. Too often UK policy is designed and developed as though women are one homogenous group, with the result that law and policy fail to address the differentiated needs of different women and thus fail to ensure equal outcomes for BME women. Chapter 7 outlines our recommendations for the new Bill. 13 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection UK GOVERNMENT POLICY APPROACH TO VAW
The UK Government’s current approach to combating all forms of violence against women is summarised in the document, Ending Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG): Strategy 2016-2020 (published by the Home Office in March 2016), described upon launch as a “refreshed strategy” to “drive a transformation in the delivery of VAWG services.”19 The VAWG strategy focuses on delivering outcomes against four pillars (the policy framework adopted in 2010): Prevention, Provision of Services, Partnership working and Pursuing perpetrators, and summarises the overall outcomes it seeks to achieve as follows: + Reduction in the prevalence of all forms of violence against women and girls; + Increases in reporting, police referrals, prosecution and conviction; and specifically (i) increased victim confidence in and access to the criminal justice system for all victims of VAWG; and (ii) greater accountability through improved data provision; + Earlier interventions and prevention so that fewer women reach crisis point; + Every victim gets the support she needs – and the support her children need – at the right time; and specifically better access to integrated pathways of support to meet the needs of victims experiencing multiple disadvantages; + All services brought up to the level of the best, and specifically that local areas understand their duties and responsibilities enshrined within the Equality Act 2010 and victims’ legislation, which take account of the particular needs that BME, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) and disabled women may have. The Strategy was accompanied by a VAWG National Statement of Expectations (NSE) (published December 2016) “to make clear to local partnerships what good commissioning and service provision looks like… setting our core expectations but giving them the freedom to respond to meet local needs.”20 14 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection UK GOVERNMENT LEGAL OBLIGATIONS TO COMBAT VAW
The UK Government has obligations to combat discrimination and violence against women and girls under international law, as well as a range of obligations and duties under domestic law. We summarise below UK State authorities’ primary obligations and duties.
INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS OBLIGATIONS The UK has legal obligations to eliminate discrimination and violence against women under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The UK ratified CEDAW in April 1986. There are three levels of obligation:21 The obligation to respect women’s right to be free from violence includes the 1 duty to ensure that domestic laws are not discriminatory and that they provide an effective legal framework for punishing and redressing the wrongs caused to women who are subjected to violence. It also requires State agents to refrain from engaging in any act or practice of violence against women. The obligation to protect is the positive obligation requiring States to take 2 appropriate steps to protect women from violence committed by non-state actors. The obligation includes combating a climate of impunity, investigating allegations of violations and providing adequate and effective remedies and reparation for victims of violence. The obligation to fulfil requires States to adopt short, medium and long term 3 policies to eliminate violence against women in all its forms. Under international law, a State may incur responsibility where it fails to exercise due diligence to prevent, protect against or respond to illegal acts by private actors. CEDAW recognises the due diligence obligations of States to prevent, protect against, investigate, punish and provide remedies for acts of violence against women, whether such acts are committed by State or non-State actors.22 States are required to use the same level of commitment to tackle violence against women as they do in relation to other forms of violence. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) condemns racial discrimination in all its forms and requires States to take steps to eliminate racial discrimination and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law. States must criminalise and effectively respond to acts of violence, or acts ‘inciting’ violence, against any race or group of persons of another colour or ethnic origin. The UK ratified CERD in March 1969.
DOMESTIC HUMAN RIGHTS OBLIGATIONS State authorities, including local authorities, health services, the police and social services, have positive obligations to protect under the Human Rights Act 1998 (specifically the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) Articles 2, 3 and 8) and are required to take reasonable steps to safeguard the lives of individuals known to be at risk of harm. Under ECHR Article 2, where State authorities know, or ought to know, of the existence of a real and immediate risk to the life of an individual from the criminal acts of another, they must take reasonable measures in the circumstances to avoid that risk. Where they do not do all that could be reasonably expected of them to avoid a real and immediate risk to life of which they have or ought to have knowledge, they will be in breach of their positive duty to protect under ECHR Article 2.23 15 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
Similar positive duties also arise in relation to the prohibition against torture, inhuman or degrading treatment (ECHR Article 3)24 and the right to respect for private life (ECHR Article 8).25 The definition of private life includes physical and psychological integrity.26 State authorities must take measures to ensure that individuals are not subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, including ill-treatment perpetrated by private individuals. These measures should provide effective protection, in particular, of children and other vulnerable persons and include reasonable steps to prevent ill-treatment of which the authorities had or ought to have had knowledge.27 In addition, where an individual has been murdered or seriously harmed in breach of ECHR Articles 2 or 3, those provisions, read in conjunction with ECHR Article 1, require the police to conduct an effective official investigation capable of leading to the identification and punishment of the perpetrators.28 The international and domestic obligations to protect women and girls from discrimination and violence are set out in more detail in Appendix 1.
LOCAL AUTHORITY SAFEGUARDING DUTIES Safeguarding children at risk of harm, abuse and neglect Local authorities have overarching responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children and young people in their area under the Children Act 1989 and Children Act 2004.29 This includes specific duties in relation to children in need and children suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm, regardless of where they are found.30 Whilst local authorities play a lead role, the Children’s Act 2004 places duties on a range of local authorities and agencies, including the police and health services, to ensure their functions, and any services that they contract out to others, are discharged having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm.31 Local authorities also have a duty to make arrangements to promote cooperation between agencies to improve the well-being of all children in the local authority’s area.32 The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) is designed to offer a single point of contact for all safeguarding concerns regarding children or young people (up to 18 years). Referrals will cover all thresholds of need from child protection to early help. MASH has been developed to co-locate safeguarding agencies (police, healthcare, local authorities, other agencies) and their data into a secure, decision-making unit. The development of MASH was in response to the failure of authorities on multiple occasions to effectively share information, resulting in criticism in Serious Case Reviews and public enquiries. Safeguarding adults at risk of harm, abuse and neglect Local authorities have been responsible for the provision of care and support to adults to keep them safe from abuse or neglect (adult safeguarding) for many years but there was no statutory framework defining roles and responsibilities of public authorities for adult safeguarding until the Care Act 2014. The 2014 Act sets out the statutory framework for how local authorities and other parts of the health and care system identify and protect adults at risk of abuse or neglect33 and places a series of duties on local authorities in relation to the provision of care and support34 for adults who live in their areas. Under the Act, local authorities are required to:35 + Provide a range of high quality, appropriate care and support services. + Ensure people can access the information and advice they need to make good decisions about their care and support. + Provide services, facilities and resources to people who live in their areas in order to prevent their care needs from becoming more serious. 16 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
Sections 42 to 47 of the Care Act 2014 outline the responsibilities of local authorities and other agencies in relation to the safeguarding of adults at risk of abuse or neglect, including the requirement to establish Safeguarding Adults Boards in every local authority area36 to help and protect adults who (a) have needs of care and support; (b) are experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect; and (c) as a result of those needs, are unable to protect themselves against abuse or neglect or the risk of it.37 Public authorities also have duties under the Human Rights Act 199838 to take appropriate measures within the scope of their powers to protect adults they know to be at risk of harm.
CODE OF PRACTICE FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME “Victims of crime should be treated in a respectful, sensitive, tailored and professional manner without discrimination of any kind. They should receive appropriate support to help them, as far as possible, to cope and recover and be protected from re-victimisation.” Code of Practice for Victims of Crime, para.1
Under the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (Victims’ Code),39 all victims of crime, irrespective of citizenship or immigration status, who make an allegation to the police that they are a victim of criminal conduct, or have an allegation made on their behalf, are entitled to receive services under the Victims’ Code.40 Victims of the most serious crimes,41 which include victims of domestic violence, hate crime and sexual offences; vulnerable and/or intimidated victims; and persistently targeted victims are entitled to ‘enhanced’ levels of service under the Victim’s Code.42 All police forces have a statutory duty to comply with the Victim’s Code. Under the Code, the police are required to:43 + provide all victims with a written acknowledgement of the crime that they have reported, including the basic details of the offence; + conduct a needs assessment to decide whether victims fall into one of the three priority categories: victims of the most serious crime, persistently targeted victims, and vulnerable or intimidated victims; + explain Special Measures to victims and establish what measures, if any, the victim feels they need to best help them give their evidence; + automatically refer all victims to appropriate victim support services within two working days of the allegation being reported unless they ask not to be referred; + seek explicit consent from victims of sexual offences or domestic violence, or bereaved close relatives, before sending their details to victim support services; + explain within five working days a decision not to investigate a crime; + advise a victim when an investigation into a case has been concluded with no person being charged and explain the reasons; + offer a victim the opportunity to make a Victim Personal Statement.
17 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection 2
GoVernAnCe, DeMoGrAphiCs AnD VAW DAtA For proJeCt AreA 18 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection GOVERNANCE, DEMOGRAPHICS AND VAW DATA FOR PROJECT AREA
Local Governance Structures Table 2 summarises local governance arrangements for the area under study and provides a breakdown of local authority spending for this spending review period. It also includes statistics from the Institute of Fiscal Studies highlighting the level of local funding cuts since 2010. Appendix 2 provides more details on local government structure and responsibilities.
TABLE 2: Local governance arrangements for area under study
Newham leicester Coventry Sheffield Rotherham Newcastle upon Tyne Region london East West Yorkshire/ Yorkshire/ North East Midlands Midlands Humber Humber Local/ Newham Leicester Coventry Sheffield Rotherham Newcastle Governing London City City City Council City Authority Borough Council Council Council Council Council Unitary Metropolitan Metropolitan Metropolitan Metropolitan authority borough borough borough district council Police Force Metropolitan leicestershire West South South Northumbria Area (PFA) Police Midlands Yorkshire Yorkshire PFA Budget £3,300m £113.9m £450.1m £188.9m £188.9m £225.7m 2016-17 Home Office Police Grant figures Police & Crime Sophie Willy David Alan Alan Vera Commissioner Linden Bach Jamieson Billings Billings Baird Year assumed 2016 2016 2014 2014 2014 2012 office Deputy Mayor for Policing & Crime Population of city/borough 341,000 348,300 352,900 575,400 109,691 296,500 Local Authority Revenue Budget 2017-18 £231.5m £258.2m £703m £1,343m £204.8m £223.1m Local Authority Budget documents Annual Local Authority budget settlement 2016-17 172.68m 155.13m 121.6m 223.09m 98.16m 140.49m 2017-18 160.40m 142.70m 110.11m 202.89m 88.85m 128.81m 2018-19 153.50m 135.70m 103.61m 191.50m 83.60m 122.23m 2019-20 146.71m 128.86m 97.28m 180.42m 78.51m 115.83m DCLG Settlement figures
Real term cut - 31% - 18% - 16% - 10% - 24% - 32% in LA service spending 2009/10 to 2016/17 Institute for Fiscal Studies data
19 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
Ethnic Diversity & social Demographics In order to ensure representative evidence collection, Sisters For Change selected six cities across England with different minority ethnic population profiles. Chart 1 illustrates the breakdown of the local populations by ethnic grouping.44 As can be seen, the range ranges from 91.9% White British population in Rotherham to a 16.7% White British population in Newham, East London (the lowest proportion in the country). Nationally, London is the most ethnically diverse area in England, followed by the West Midlands, whilst the North East has the highest percentage of White British in the country. The chart also includes the hate crime statistics recorded across the Police Force Area (PFA) in each area.
Chart 1: Breakdown of ethnicity in area under study
National Average (Eng & Wales)
White British 0% 20 40 60 80 100 Other white (Irish, Gypsy/Irish Traveller, other) Indian Pakistani Bangladeshi Other Asia (China, other Asian) Black/African/Caribbean/Black British Arab/Middle East – Syria, Iraq – Turkey Mixed/multiple-ethnic (White & Black Caribbean; White & Black Asian; Other mixed) Other
Police Force Area Metropolitan Leicestershire West South Northumbria Police Midlands Yorkshire Number of hate 17,414 824 6,203 1,001 1,340 crimes recorded in Police Force Area in 2015-16 Home Office Hate Crime Statistics 20 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
Local Authority/Police Force Area Financial and Crime Data related to VAW Table 3 provides key data and information relating to violence against women in each area under study – from estimated cost of domestic abuse to Police Force Area crime statistics for domestic and sexual offences. Data is not adequately disaggregated to allow for a breakdown specifically for BME women.
TABLE 3: Financial & Crime data relating to VAW for area under study
Newham leicester Coventry Sheffield Rotherham Newcastle upon Tyne Police Force Metropolitan Leicestershire West South South Northumbria Area (PFA) Police (part of) Midlands Yorkshire Yorkshire Tackling violence Yes, domestic Domestic No No No Yes, domestic against women and girls and sexual abuse only and sexual mentioned by violence MOPAC WM SYPCC SYPCC North name as a priority area P & C Plan L P & C Plan P & C Plan P & C Plan P & C Plan P & C Plan in Police & Crime Plan 2017-20 2016-20 2016-20 2017-21 2017-21 2017-21 Estimated cost of £28.2m £35.7m £34.8m £61.6m £26m £33.6m domestic violence in local authority area Trust for London & Henry Smith Charity statistics, 2011 In PFA, number of 217,200 32,300 104,200 38,100 38,100 48,100 people aged 16-59 disclosing domestic abuse in the last year Office of National Statistics Domestic Abuse Statistics Tool data based on Crime Survey Data Domestic abuse 152,823 12,414 52,042 32,135 32,135 30,534 related incidents and offences recorded by the police in PFA, year ending March 2016 ONS Domestic Abuse Statistics Tool No. of police 76,022 5,887 18,967 8,563 8,563 10,209 recorded domestic (50%) (47%) (36%) (26%) (26%) (33%) abuse offences to March 2016 ONS Domestic Abuse Statistics Tool Domestic abuse 10% 10% 10% 8% 8% 11% offences as a % of all offences in PFA ONS Domestic Abuse Statistics Tool No. of recorded 17,227 1,564 4,788 3,303 3,303 3,313 sexual offences in PFA to December 2016 ONS from Police & Home Office data 21 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection 3
BME WOMEN’S EXPERIENCE OF VIOLENCE & ABUSE 22 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
+ Current Government strategy for combating violence against BME is at risk of stereotyping both the types of violence BME women victims suffer and the response to it. The focus on ‘cultural’ forms of violence such as female genital mutilation moves focus away from combating domestic and sexual violence. + Characteristics of violence against BME women and their corresponding support needs are often different from and more complex than other women due to their BME identity and lived experiences. + BME service providers provide a critical point of access and a safe space for BME women victims of violence to find help and access statutory services such as health, social services and criminal justice system authorities.
STEREOTYPING OF BME WOMEN
Cultural and racial stereotyping of BME women and girl victims of violence has both a ‘chilling’ effect in terms of reporting violence and also an exclusionary effect in terms of impeding BME women victims’ access to the services and support they need. In discussions and cases presented by BME service provider partners, discrimination against BME women victims on the basis of their ethnicity was cited as a major impediment to victims being believed and a factor that put victims at further risk. The case studies below illustrate these points. Case 1: Stereotyping resulting in failure to identify controlling and coercive behaviour A Kurdish Muslim woman forced to wear hot pants by her coercive and controlling husband as part of a deliberate plan to isolate her from her family and ostracise her from her community. Police and Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) response was “how can she be oppressed if she’s wearing hot pants”. Case 2: Failure to assess risk of BME women in housing allocation After fleeing her violent partner, a local authority re-housed a Roma woman in an area of the city known to be racist. She subsequently became the subject of hate crimes and had to be moved out of the area for her own protection. In addition, lack of cultural sensitivity on the part of local authorities and the police – including relating to language skills – was highlighted as another barrier for BME women victims, often heightening victims’ fear and nervousness in dealing with public authorities. The case below is just one illustration of how a BME woman victim was needlessly re-traumatised by such an approach. Case 3: Police response traumatising threatened victim A BME woman’s ex-husband, who had been convicted of child sexual exploitation, made contact late one night and threatened to kill her. The woman contacted a local BME VAW service provider who reported the incident to the police. The BME service provider told the police the woman was on her own and spoke very little English so if they planned to visit the woman to take a statement, they should inform the service provider who would send a support worker to act as interpreter and chaperone. Police stated they would not visit the woman’s home that night but then did – at 1.30am without notice and without an interpreter. This caused the victim fear and distress. 23 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
Allied to this cultural and racial stereotyping, Government policy focused on what is often termed “cultural” forms of violence or harmful practices – such as forced marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM) and ‘honour based’ violence – has increasingly become the main optic for viewing violence against BME women and girls. This is not only reductionist in nature, but fails to understand the continuum of domestic and sexual violence that impact BME women as they do other women, as Imkaan, the national advocacy body for BME women service providers, says: “The narrative has led to a continued emphasis on individual and specific forms of violence at the cost of understanding the everyday forms of violence (domestic and sexual violence) that routinely impact on BME women and girls’ wellbeing and quality of life.”45
Finally, many BME women victims and organisations identified the Government’s current counter-radicalisation policy, Prevent - one of four strands of the Government’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy (Contest) – as another barrier facing BME women victims due to the distrust the policy had sown both across communities and between minority communities and the police. BME women victims said the policy made them more reluctant to report incidents to the police, for fear of being viewed by police as belonging to a ‘radical’ community and also for fear of a backlash from their own community. In a report published last year, Imkaan highlighted the problematic nature of the current approach: “While issues such as racialised sexual harassment are largely absent from public policy, Government approaches increasingly collapse violence against BME women and girls, in particular forced marriage, female genital mutilation and ‘honour based’ violence with counter-extremism strategies.” Senior police officers we interviewed also acknowledged the need to increase confidence in the police among minority communities. Current levels of distrust cause significant operational challenges – leading to what police consider to be a dramatic underreporting of violence against BME women and limiting the protection and access to justice BME women victims deserve and have a right to expect. As Imkaan articulates: “we know that experiences of racism can silence women and girls. Survivors can be forced to balance their need for support against concerns about how their ‘communities’ are perceived. Narratives which portray BME communities as more dangerous, patriarchal, inclined towards extremism etc. have a direct impact on where survivors feel able to access support and how they engage with agencies. A failure to recognise and address this effectively limits the support that is provided to survivors of violence.”46 24 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection BMe WoMen’s eXperienCe oF VioLenCe AnD sUpport serViCe neeDs
Research and practice across the BME women’s sector clearly demonstrates that in many aspects, BME women’s experience of violence is diff erent from other women. This is borne of a lived experience in which factors such as race, ethnicity, language, family structures, social exclusion, income and in some instances, immigration status cause multiple or intersectional discrimination which has a direct impact on BME victims’ experience of violence and will inform their response to it. Chart 2 compares characteristics of BME victims of violence collected over 2015- 16 from a typical BME VAW service provider against the national average victim characteristics for the same period.47 Key points of diff erence relate to BME women’s experience of violence from multiple perpetrators, BME women’s economic status, mental health concerns, language and immigration-related issues. A further salient diff erence, not captured in the chart, is that the average length of domestic abuse for a BME women victim was 8 years, versus the national average of 2.3 years.48
ChArt 2: BME victim characteristics vs National average victim charactistics
Physical abuse 69% 86%
Sexual abuse 25% 67%
Harassment/Stalking 70% 81%
Controlling behaviour 83% 100%
Primary perpetrator 29% intimate partner 82% Primary 8% perpetrator family 16% Abuse from 9% multiple perpetrators 87%
Perpetrator with criminal record 47% related to domestic abuse 27%
Perpetrator with criminal record 33% related to another violent crime 20% Perpetrator no criminal record 17% 42%
Economic issues 17% 66%
Mental Health concerns 38% 88% language barrier 0% 70%
At risk of so-called 0% Honour Based Violence 95% At risk of Forced Marriage 0% 35%
No recourse to public funds 0% 52%
Need to apply for indefi nite 0% leave to remain (IlR) 47%
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
National average BME victims 25 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection
These characteristics obviously inform how BME women cope with abuse and the kind of support they seek. Chart 3 highlights the types of support services that BME domestic violence victims access versus the national average.49 Key points to note include the fact that the majority of BME women victims require benefi ts and housing support once they report domestic abuse and 4 in 5 require assistance on immigration related matters. These are very important needs to understand as they add huge additional complexity to responding to BME women victims of violence and a requirement of time, knowledge and specialist skills that are not required for non-BME cases.
ChArt 3: types of support services required by BMe victims vs national average
Required benefi t support 19% 100%
Required housing support 52% 100%
Required immigration support 1% 80%
Required support from civil orders 21% (e.g. non molestation order) 67% Children’s support services intervened 35% in domestic violence case 73% Qualifi ed for legal aid 49% 16% 77%
National average 0 20 40 60 80 100 BME victims
To understand these support needs, it is useful to understand the drivers behind them by placing BME women’s economic and minority status in context. This is critical for policy makers to understand given they directly impact the needs BME women victims of violence have and so should inform equality impact assessments that local Authority Commissioners or central Government policy makers conduct in developing VAW policies, commissioning strategies or guidelines and funding methods or pathways. 26 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
BME poverty rates While poverty rates vary among ethnic groups in the UK both across ethnicity and geography, generally income poverty rates50 for people from minority ethnic groups are much higher in inner London (where 70% of those in income poverty are from minority ethnic groups), North England and the Midlands. Between ethnic groups, income poverty rates are highest for Bangladeshis (65%), Pakistanis (55%) and black Africans (45%) with the two lowest rates being Indians (25%) and British (20%).51 It was estimated in 2009 that up to 40% of ethnic minority women in the UK lived in poverty.52 But austerity cuts made by the Government since 2010 have served to exacerbate income pressures on BME women further. Recent research conducted by the Women’s Budget Group into the impact of austerity cuts found that low income black and Asian women were paying the highest price for austerity. They estimate that by 2020 as a direct result of Government fiscal, tax and benefit changes, black and Asian women living in the poorest 33% of households in the UK will have experienced an 11.5% reduction in individual income. This is nearly double the drop experienced by white women from the same income bracket.53 BME minority status The right to residency, and the linked right of access to public authorities and the services they provide, is of course a critical issue for many (though not all) BME women. BME VAW service providers estimate that approximately 50% of their casework relates to victims with insecure immigration status (e.g. where a foreign wife of a British national comes to the UK with a two-year spousal visa which subsequently lapses). This means that de facto these women have restricted or no recourse (or access) to public funds (NRPF), meaning that victims of violence cannot access welfare, housing and other social benefits. Given that such a situation places BME women with insecure immigration status at grave risk, following a concerted campaign by BME women’s organisations, the Government has now established what is called the Destitute Domestic Violence (DDV) Concession. This is a formal process which requires a victim to apply to the Home Office for access to public funds for a period of 3 months while the UK Visas & Immigration Department considers her application to settle in the UK. BME service providers help victims navigate this process on a routine basis. Many succeed in their application, but for those who do not, BME service providers will receive no formal government funding for providing services to BME victims of violence.54 27 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection BME VAW SERVICE PROVIDERS: A CRITICAL POINT OF ACCESS
Given the complex pattern of need and the specialist economic, linguistic, legal and immigration services often required to support BME women victims of violence effectively, it can be no surprise that an overwhelming majority - 89% - of BME women victims say they prefer receiving support from a BME specialist service.55 The value of providing a BME-sensitive ‘safe space’ for victims cannot be underestimated in terms of its restorative and rehabilitative impact for victims. Imkaan highlights this fact in their recent briefing paper: “…many BME survivors routinely silence themselves in non-BME specialist spaces, not feeling able to speak about aspects of their experiences, for i) fear of their entire ‘communities’ being judged, ii) not feeling ‘at home’ with non-BME practitioners. A holistic approach to support for BME women and girls therefore requires attending to the impact of … racism. … but also offers an antidote through i) the type of the support, ii) the way(s) that support is provided and iii) who provides the support.”56 It is critical to appreciate the role BME VAW service providers play in providing an essential point of access for BME women victims of violence to statutory services such as health, social services and the criminal justice system. Without them, the further isolation or exclusion of BME women victims from formal systems of support and redress remains a very real risk.57
Local Authority VAW Commissioning officials should conduct more extensive 1 data collection through BME VAW service providers to develop a more informed range of locally relevant profiles of the needs and experiences of different women and girl victims of violence. Commissioning should be based more closely on the reality on the ground for all local communities. The Home Office and National College of Policing should develop a multi- 2 agency training course, informed and co-led by BME women’s organisations and experts, for police and local authority personnel (including health and social service officials) to better understand BME women’s experience of intersectional discrimination and violence and how to reduce stereotyping of BME women victims of violence. Local authorities should review their current strategy of funding larger, ‘generic’ 3 service providers to meet the needs of BME women victims of violence and recognise the critical importance of the pathway provided by small, specialist BME VAW service providers into mainstream statutory services and give BME women victims the choice of support they want. 4 COMMISSIONING & FUNDING OF BME VAW SERVICES 29 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
+ The localism/devolution agenda has restructured responsibilities for commissioning and providing VAW services to local authorities and PCCs. In tandem, cuts in local authority budgets have led to a drive toward generic, lower cost VAW service provision delivered through larger consortia or housing organisations. Both factors have led to commissioning and funding strategies that discriminate against smaller, specialist BME VAW service providers, with the result that most BME VAW service providers are now completely excluded from local statutory authority funding while still being referred the majority of their casework from statutory agencies. + Central Government has recognised the funding ‘crisis’ for VAW services that local cost cutting measures have provoked. The response has been to set up various funds as a stop-gap to sustain refuges and maintain service provision. These funds have further complicated the funding landscape, lack a strategic framework, do not provide guaranteed future spending and, despite Government commitments, are hardly reaching BME VAW service providers. + This report provides evidence that central Government and local authorities are neither commissioning nor providing services to meet the needs of BME women victims of violence as promised under the national VAWG Strategy and as required under the Public Sector Equality Duty, the Care Act 2014 and the Victim’s Code.
IMPACT OF LOCALISM & LOCAL AUTHORITY BUDGET CUTS ON BME VAW SERVICES
A drive for local government Since 2010, England has experienced a profound and fundamental restructuring in who is responsible for the commissioning and provision of public services, including VAW support services, and how funding is allocated for those services. The Localism Act of 2011 changed the power of local government in England by devolving decision-making to local authorities, including newly created Police & Crime Commissioners (a post created in 2012 to replace now-abolished police authorities).58 It was followed in 2016 by the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act which promoted a new legal structure of ‘combined authorities’ with directly-elected mayors (a ‘mayoral combined authority’).59 These changes gave local authorities substantial new powers – and responsibilities – for commissioning and delivering VAW services.60 A complex local commissioning context One of the complexities of the devolved responsibilities for services is that both local authority areas and Police & Crime Commissioners (who oversee Police Force Areas) have responsibilities and budgets to commission services, but their geographical areas of operation are different. As a result, priorities and strategies often differ between entities, pooling of budgets is difficult, and crime/service data and statistics – critical to help direct policy and funding decisions – do not always correlate to local authority areas of control and are inadequately disaggregated to ensure that the needs of protected groups are properly integrated into decision-making. For VAW service providers, this has led to an increasingly complex policy and funding landscape. Chart 4 illustrates one example of a devolved local authority commissioning and management structure for VAW services as configured in Northumbria. 30 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
Chart 4: An example of local authority organisational structures related to VAW
NORTHUMBRIA NORTHUMBRIA local authority NORTHUMBRIA Police & Crime Police Newcastle City Council commissioner
Commissioning Regional VAWG Operation Secure Unit Strategy
Safeguarding Commissioner Refuge Department of Sevices for Provision/Local Public Protection Victims of Crime accomodation Units /Community Neighbourhood Funds & Grant Teams Aid Schemes
Multi-Agency Multi- Safe Newcastle Adult Agency Child Protecting Victims First Board Safeguarding Safeguarding Vulnerable Northumbria Board Board People Team
Adult Safeguarding Multi-Agency Rape Scrutiny Safe Newcastle VAWG Strategic Safe Newcastle Domestic Abuse Safeguarding Panel Plan Partnership Plan Action Plan Hub MARAC
Safe Newcastle Child Workplace Unit Newcastle Newcastle Safeguarding Domestic and VAWG/ASB/ Integrated Council Child Sexual Operation Sexual Violence Hate Crime/ Domestic Abuse Safeguarding Exploitation Community Service Adults Unit Encompass and Abuse Cohesion CSE Santuary Champions Teams
Court Observer Panel Our diagram illustrates only one model of current practice. We note the focused and innovative work on VAW by the Northumbria PCC. However, across each of the local authority areas of this study, there is a different operational model and approach to deal with VAW, with different reporting and funding lines and different levels of collaboration and service competition. The reality on the ground of this lack of consistency across local areas stands in direct contrast to the vision articulated in the Government’s VAWG Strategy, which describes local arrangements as follows: 31 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
“At its very best, this is overseen by strong local leadership, with a single person clearly accountable for provision, and underpinned by pooled budgets so that funding can follow women’s needs rather than being artificially constrained by service boundaries.” Local commissioning also impacts VAW service provision in another fundamental way. The focus at the local level of providing services for local residents has a limitation when it comes to VAW service provision, as women victims of male violence often need to be resettled from one local area to another for their own safety (to escape an abuser). Local authorities are often reluctant to take on the associated costs and support services for ‘non-resident’ women (i.e. women from other local areas), especially when it comes to places in refuges or local housing.61 The result is that victims are turned away or refused support. This problem is particularly acute in London. This localised approach is operating to the detriment of victims and risks placing local authorities in a position where they are in fact breaching their human rights obligations – a point that the UN Special Rapporteur on VAW highlighted following her UK visit in 2014: “a shift towards a localism agenda should come with safeguards and guarantees that local authorities will continue to operate within the human rights framework and in compliance with the UK’s international obligations when addressing the issue of violence against women and girls.”62 The Austerity Agenda At the same time as the Government’s drive towards localism, it introduced in 2010 an austerity strategy which saw unprecedented national and local budget cuts. From 2009/10 – 2014/15, Government funding63 for local authorities fell by 28% in real terms with that reduction reaching 37% by 2015-1664 and set to reach 56% by 2019-20.65 This resulted in an average reduction in councils’ spending power from 2009/10-2015/16 of 26%66 with some councils losing up to 40%.67 For more details of the specific level of cuts experienced by each public authority in the area of study, see Table 2 in the section Local Contexts. These spending cuts have weakened almost all forms of support services for women victims of violence.68 Between 2011-12 alone, the domestic and sexual violence sector suffered average funding cuts of 31%69 and between 2010-14, 17% of specialist refuges in England were closed and a third of all referrals to refuges were turned away.70 This leaves England far behind the Council of Europe recommended shelter provision of 1 place per 10,000 population, with one specialist VAW shelter in every province of the country (interpreted in England as local authority area).71 The BME women’s support sector was hit even harder. BME service providers – of which there are now only 34 across the UK72 - experienced an average loss of 47% of funds between 2011-2012 and all BME refuge services experienced funding cuts of between 20-100%.73 Recent analysis by Imkaan reports that two-thirds (67%) of specialist BME service providers feel “uncertain about their sustainability in the current climate.”74 The impact on BME victims is horrifying: in the 12 months to March 2015, Imkaan reported that only 21% of BME women victims of violence in London seeking a refuge space were successful in obtaining one, with the remaining 79% turned away.75 32 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
A focus on cost-cutting and generic service provision The reason behind these losses in specialist service provision was that local authority funding pressures led to a prioritisation on cost-cutting, an increase in competitive tending and a commissioner preference for larger, lower-cost, ‘generic’ or ‘one size fits all’ VAW service contracts at the expense of women-centred services and specialist services for minority ethnic groups. In addition, in an effort to pool resources with other councils and so produce budget savings, some local authorities have moved to a form of ‘regionalisation’. The outcome of this strategy is to favour larger, unitary contracts – often awarded to large consortia groups or national non-specialist housing/accommodation providers, at the expense of providing for the specific needs and profiles of VAW service users in local areas and discriminating against smaller- scale local BME VAW service providers. The cases below drawn from our area of study over the last 2 years alone provide three examples of this trend. Newcastle City Council Commissioning Case Study Newcastle City Council decommissioned refuges provided by smaller specialist VAW providers in 2015 appointing instead two generic housing and support providers – Thirteen Care and Support, which provides services for youth, ex-offenders, and more recently domestic violence victims; Changing Lives, which provides housing and support for people who are homeless, ex drug addicts, veterans and recently domestic violence victims. Sheffield City Council Commissioning Case Study In 2013, Sheffield City Council changed its VAW commissioning process and required that the three local providers of VAW refuge provision – Ashiana (a small BME organisation), Haven House and Women’s Aid – merge their refuge operations. All staff from the two smaller organisations had to move over to Women’s Aid, which decimated Ashiana’s BME-specific services. In 2014, Sheffield City Council awarded the refuge contract to the newly merged entity, Sheffield Area Refuge & Support and awarded the ‘floating support’ (outreach and counselling services not linked directly to accomodation-based services) to Action Housing (originally founded with a mission to provide accomodation for ex-offenders and only providing domestic abuse services from 2012) before it lost the contract to another non-specialist housing provider, Shelter. Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council Commissioning Case Study Often larger generic service providers (e.g. housing associations who run hostels for homeless people), have no experience of providing services for BME women victims of violence. The generic providers then recruit BME workers to meet their contract requirements but this is often insufficient to provide the safe and secure space that BME women victims require. The following case study highlights these problems. In March 2015, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council issued an invitation to tender in relation to its (then) Supporting People contract to support BME women. Local BME organisation Apna Haq was delivering the existing contract. Despite history and experience, Apna Haq’s bid was unsuccessful and the contract was awarded to Rotherham Rise, a non-BME specialist organisation providing support services for victims of domestic violence. Apna Haq had clear reservations about Rotherham Rise’s ability to provide a BME service, however, under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, employees impacted by a transfer of activities or services from one contractor to another are protected. As the delivery of the Council’s BME contract constituted Apna Haq’s principal purpose, Apna Haq identified all of its employees as subject to the transfer and expected them to move to Rotherham Rise when the new contract began in November 2015. 33 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection
Rotherham Rise, however, took the view that the transfer did not apply to the Executive Director of Apna Haq and informed her in October that she would not transfer with the fi ve other employees, but that instead she could apply in a competitive recruitment process for the position of manager (which in essence mirrored her current role). In November 2015, due to the unfair manner in which Apna Haq staff felt they had been treated by Rotherham Rise and Rotherham Council, none of the fi ve workers chose to transfer and the Executive Director made a claim for unfair dismissal against Rotherham Rise to an employment tribunal. The employment tribunal found in her favour and held she was unfairly dismissed by Rotherham Rise.76 When Rotherham Rise took over the contract, Rotherham Council wanted all 63 of the BME women Apna Haq were supporting to be transferred to Rotherham Rise. 62 of the 63 women refused to transfer to Rotherham Rise and continue to be supported by Apna Haq today. In addition, since the start of the new contract at the end of last year, at least ten BME women referred to Rotherham Rise have sought the assistance of Apna Haq in preference to the service provided by Rotherham Rise on the grounds that they do not feel Rotherham Rise understands the specifi c needs of BME women. the ChAnGinG FACe oF FUnDinG oF BMe speCiAList serViCe proViDers The impact of these changes to local commissioning on BME VAW service provider funding has been profound. Chart 5 sets out the changes in funding sources for a sample of BME specialist (non-accomodation) service providers across England between 2014-2016.
ChArt 5: Changing face of BMe specialist (non-accomodation) services funding 2014 – 2016
Central Government 5.7% 4% Funding 1% local Authority 32% 27.7% Funding 0% PCC Funding 0.3% 5.3% 5.7% Big lottery Funding 4.7% 5% 24%
National NGO 8% 28.3% 16% 33% 32.3% Private Foundations 17.7% 16% 9.7% Donations & private 5.3% 5.3% donors 8.7% EU Funding 3.3% 2.7% 2% Forced spending from 0% 0% reserves 16.7%
Other 1.7% 1% 0% Source of funding as a percentage of total annual budget
2014 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 2015 2016 Percentage of total funding
Data collected by SFC from a sample of specialist (non-accomodation) BME service providers across England. 34 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection
As can be seen, there has been a marked decline (from an already low base) in central Government funding for BME VAW service providers over the period, accompanied by an even higher decline in local authority funding. Funding from the newly established PCCs has increased slightly over the period, but its limited funding awards do not off set the other more signifi cant funding losses. The Big lottery Fund now plays a signifi cant role in funding BME VAW service providers. Although welcome, this brings with it risks in terms of longer-term sustainability. Ironically, despite the fact that many BME specialist service providers now receive little or no local authority funding, statutory agencies – including the police, health and social services – nonetheless continue to rely on these services as a primary support for BME women victims of violence. Chart 6 shows that despite the decline in statutory funding, BME service providers receive the majority of their referrals – 62% - from statutory agencies, including health providers, youth services providers, other statutory VAW service providers (such as Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARACs), Independent Domestic Violence Advocates, Sexual Assault Referral Centres) and the police (although it should be noted that BME referrals from the police are signifi cantly lower than the national average). As one BME VAW service provider manager summed up: “They [police and social services] recognise our specialism but it costs them nothing.” This is concrete evidence of the failure of the current local VAW funding and commissioning model in England to fairly distribute funding to where it is needed and to those providing critical services and referral pathways. 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
ChArt 6: typical referral pathways to BMe specialist service providers
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
27% Health - NHS/Health visitor/ 16% Police Social Care/Crisis/Mental health 11% DVA & SV Services - IDVA, SARC, Team/Single point of Access Refuges, DV Floating Support Workers Services/Helpline 4% MARAC 18% Personal contact 4% Children & Young People Services (Family/friend/solicitor) or School 3% Specialist Services: BME refuges/BME orgs/ 17% Self BME advice services etc 35 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection CentrAL GoVernMent FUnDinG oUt oF reACh oF BMe VAW serViCe proViDers
Between 2011-16, central Government, aware of the growing crisis that local cost cutting measures has provoked in the VAW sector, has stepped in to provide stop-gap funding, with the result that there has been a steady stream of announcements hailing the establishment of new funds for VAW. However, for all the media attention given to these announcements, central Government currently invests only £25 million per year77 in national funding initiatives to prevent and respond to violence against women.78 This is less than 0.06% of the estimated cost of VAW in England and Wales.79 Chart 7 details the largest sources of central Government VAW funding.80
ChArt 7: Main central Government funds for VAW (£ million)
Male Rape Support Fund (established 2015) MoJ 1
Rape Support Fund (established 2011) MoJ 4.4
PCC Funding targeted at victims of sexual and domestic violence (not ring fenced; estimated). 1.35 Part of total PCC Funding 2017-2018 £67.85 million (which includes £4.7 million for victims of child abuse) Department for Culture, Media & Sport/Civil Society - Tampon Tax Fund - For women’s charities 15 including VAWG services/providers; £15 million 2017-2018 Department for Communitities and local Government - Domestic Abuse Fund 10 (Accommodation - based support services) 2016-2018 (2 years); total £20 million
Home Offi ces/VAWG Service Transformation Fund - established 2017-20 for local commissioners 5 of services (3 years), total funding £15 million
Funding (£ millions) allocated per year 0 5 10 15
There are two major drawbacks to these funds. First, they have further complicated the VAW funding and commissioning landscape (some of the funds are spent through local authorities, some given directly to service providers, others only accessible via consortia bidding). Second, they lack an overarching and sustainable strategic framework by dint of the fact that the funds are operated across four diff erent government departments (Ministry of Justice, Home Offi ce, Dept. of Communities & local Government (DClG), and Dept. of Culture, Media & Sport). Even more signifi cantly, however, to date very little of this funding has reached BME VAW service providers. As Chart 5 illustrated, BME specialist service providers experienced a year on year reduction in central Government funding between 2014- 2016 and only a small number of BME VAW service providers have yet succeeded in accessing DClG or Home Offi ce Transformation Funding. While two of our BME VAW service provider partners were recently included in a consortia bid for central funding, both were a very small proportion of the respective bids and one partner stated they had been openly discriminated against in the bid by being allocated a lower budget per refuge space than the allocation budgeted for a non-BME VAW service provider. 36 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
Imkaan, the BME VAW sector’s national advocacy body, believes that this is due to inequality of opportunity and discrimination by commissioners: “Larger, more visible providers are able to have more influence with funders, commissioners and policy makers. Rather than strengthening our sector, this risks a widening of the gap and reinforcing embedded inequities.”81
GOVERNMENT FAILING TO LIVE UP TO UK VAWG STRATEGY & LEGAL OBLIGATIONS
These findings clearly reveal that the Government is not only failing to deliver its own VAWG Strategy, but also failing to give due consideration to its legal obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty, the Care Act 2014 and the Victim’s Code. In relation to services for BME women victims of violence, the VAW Strategy 2016-2020 states: “We recognise that some sectors of society can experience multiple forms of discrimination and disadvantage or additional barriers to accessing support. These include women and girls from BME communities…. Our support to promote effective local commissioning will focus on ensuring the needs of all victims are met.”
Furthermore, the National Statement of Expectations (NSE) specifically highlights the duty of local VAW Service Commissioners to have (i) “sufficient local specialist support provision,82 including provision designed specifically to support victims from marginalised groups e.g. specialist BME-led refuges” and (ii) “access to a broad diversity of provision, considering how services will be accessible to BME, disabled, LGBTQI and older victims and survivors, and those from isolated and marginalised communities.” As our findings above have shown, the Governments’ local commissioning model is not delivering these outcomes. The VAW Strategy also states: “It [Government VAW funding] will include specific provision for women from BME backgrounds and innovative services for the most vulnerable with complex needs.” 37 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
And: “We will ensure the Transformation Fund works to drive improvements in local commissioning … and meets the needs of those women and girls experiencing multiple disadvantage (BME, LGB&T women and girls and disabled and older women.” As our analysis makes clear, the Government is failing to meet both of these objectives - neither adequate BME service provision nor funding for BME specialist services is being delivered on the ground. Local Authority Equality Duties Under the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED),83 public authorities or any person exercising public functions must have due regard in the exercise of those functions to the need to: (a) eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation; (b) advance equality of opportunity (including removing or minimising disadvantages suffered by persons sharing a protected characteristic or taking particular steps to meet the needs of persons sharing a protected characteristic);84 (c) foster good relations between different persons and groups (and, in particular, have due regard to the need to tackle prejudice and promote understanding). Our findings suggest that local authorities are failing to adequately consider their public sector equality duties in their commissioning and funding of local BME VAW support services. The Women and Equalities Select Committee has criticised the refusal of the Treasury to publish analysis of how the 2015 Spending Review affected women, BME people and disabled people: “14. …..In the absence of this information and any ministerial evidence, we are unable to form a view of how robust the equalities analysis was or how far the Treasury and the government complied with the public sector equality duty. 15. The lack of information provided to us demonstrates a concerning lack of transparency. The promotion of transparency is a central aim of the public sector equality duty requirements, but the government’s current position does not engender confidence that these requirements are being complied with.”85 Local Authority duties under the Care Act 2014 Under the Care Act 2014, the Government mandates a person centred approach to provision of care and support services. It states: “We wanted to ensure that the law focuses on the needs of people. The old law created responsibilities to provide particular services. That leads to an approach to assessment and support planning that focuses more on services and organisations – the people that provide the care, not the people who receive it. We wanted to change this, so that the person is always at the centre.”86 The Care Act requires local authorities to help develop a market that delivers a wide range of sustainable high-quality support services that will be available to their communities. 38 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
Under the Act, local authorities have a duty to promote diversity and quality in the provision of services for care and support87 and must ensure that they are aware of current and likely future demand for services and 88 consider how providers meet that demand. Department of Health Guidance is clear: “Local authorities should … engage with local providers, to help each other understand what services are likely to be needed in the future, and what new types of support should be developed. To do this, authorities should engage with local people about their needs and aspirations.”89
And: “When buying and arranging services, local authorities must consider how they might affect an individual’s wellbeing.”90
Again, our analyses demonstrates that local authorities are not complying with these requirements in relation to provision of tailored support services for BME women victims of violence.
The Government should rethink its current funding and commissioning approach. 4 Localism has resulted in reduced and inconsistent VAW services and a failure to ensure diversity and specialist service provision. We recommend that the Home Office adopt a policy of ring-fencing a proportion of central VAW funding for BME specialist service providers. There is a precedent for central ring-fencing: funding has been set aside at the national level for sexual violence victims’ support and rape services. This is the only way to guarantee BME VAW service providers equality of opportunity and a fairer distribution of funding, and to deliver the Government’s pledge to “ensure that victims are able to access the services they need, when they need them.” It is also critical to ensure that BME VAW service providers are properly recognised for their specialist skills by the statutory sector and ensured a long-term sustainable position in UK VAW service provision architecture. The Home Office should provide ‘Minimum Service Provision Guidelines for BME 5 women victims of violence’ to ensure that local authorities commission and fund additional non-accommodation VAW services and outreach to support BME women in their local communities. These guidelines should consider the demographic composition of local authority areas and reflect minority ethnic populations and characteristics (including poverty rates, employment and other factors). Special attention should be focused on areas where no one ethnic group is in the majority – like Leicester and certain boroughs of London – where service provision should in fact be led with these needs in mind, and areas with smaller ethnic populations, where neglect and lack of equality of minority groups deserve special protection. Police and Crime Commissioners should work together with Local Authority VAW 6 Coordinators to develop a dedicated pathway for referring BME women to BME VAW service providers.
39 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection 5
NATIONAL WEAKNESSES IN POLICE RESPONSE TO DOMESTIC ABUSE 40 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
Police effectiveness in tackling domestic abuse has been in the spotlight over the last five years. In September 2013, the Home Secretary commissioned Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC)91 to inspect the police response to domestic violence and abuse. HMIC has published two reports. The first report in 201492 found significant weaknesses in the service provided to victims of domestic abuse and concluded that the police response to domestic abuse was a poor relation to other policing activity. The second report in 201593 found that the police had responded to the failings identified in the 2014 report but concluded there was still work to do. HMIC did not include any disaggregated data of findings in relation to police responses to BME victims of domestic abuse so for this reason we present findings relating to all women victims of domestic abuse – BME and non-BME. Summary of findings + Failure to accurately assess the nature and level of risk posed to victims by perpetrators of domestic abuse in order to ensure an appropriate police response. + The voluntary nature of the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) model for high risk victims of domestic abuse results in a lack of accountability and undermines the protection of victims. + An alarming decline in arrest rates for domestic abuse perpetrators across England and Wales. + Inadequate use of police powers to protect victims of domestic abuse. Despite the scrutiny of the police response to domestic abuse and data which indicates that over 1 in 10 crimes recorded by the police are domestic abuse-related, senior public protection officers across the forces in the area of study recognised that the primary focus of the police continued to be on responding to ‘public’ violence in favour of tackling what many officers still perceive as ‘private’ violence, such as domestic abuse. And whilst there has been some positive change in police attitudes to working in community safety and public protection, this area of policing work remains undervalued.
Initial reponse: Failure to accurately assess risk of harm to victims
In March 2017, HMIC reported that police forces across England and Wales are not appropriately assessing the vulnerability and risk of serious injury or death faced by victims of domestic abuse. Police forces use the Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Harassment and Honour Based Violence (DASH) risk assessment.94 In some forces, DASH forms are submitted incomplete, without the response officer’s observations. In other cases, risk assessments are completed when a response officer has returned to the office or are conducted over the telephone, potentially heightening the risk to the victim of abuse. These practices mean that officers are not accurately establishing the risk that victims are facing, which raises profound safeguarding concerns. 41 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
Summary of HMIC findings: + Failure to assess vulnerability effectively and to fully complete risk-assessments of victims of domestic abuse during first response. + Poor quality information recorded from domestic abuse crime scenes. + Secondary review of risk assessments by supervisors resulting in inappropriate downgrading of risk with result that cases are not referred to multi-agency risk assessment conferences (MARACs) and high risk victims of domestic abuse are not being provided with necessary protection or support. + A variable standard of investigation of domestic abuse cases. Specific findings in relation to the police forces in the area of study were as follows: + Leicestershire Police: nearly 50% of cases where domestic abuse victim initially assessed at high-risk of serious injury or death inappropriately downgraded at secondary review + South Yorkshire Police: inadequate risk assessment and safeguarding referrals in domestic abuse cases + West Midlands Police: inconsistent assessment of vulnerability and risk of domestic abuse victims and variable standards of investigation + Northumbria Police: vulnerability and safeguarding a priority + Metropolitan Police Service: response to domestic abuse victims inadequate A more detailed analysis of the findings of the five police forces above is set out in Appendix 3.
MARAC MODEL FAILING TO PROTECT HIGH RISK VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE
Summary of findings: + The voluntary nature of the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) model results in lack of accountability. + The MARAC system is overloaded. + Differences in resourcing and agency practices is resulting in inconsistent protection for victims of domestic abuse. The Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) is the mechanism through which State authorities respond to high risk victims of domestic abuse.95 MARACs are voluntary meetings where information on the highest risk cases of domestic abuse is shared between local statutory and voluntary sector agencies (police, health, housing, education, children and young people’s services, Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVAs), VAW service providers) with the aim of developing an effective risk management plan to reduce the risk of further harm to victims and to provide appropriate support services.96 42 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
1. Voluntary nature of MARAC model results in lack of accountability The multi-agency approach to addressing the needs of high risk victims of violence is central to the Government’s VAWG Strategy. However, due to the non-statutory footing of the MARAC mechanism, engagement of authorities and agencies is completely voluntary in nature. No authority or agency has legal responsibility for co-ordinating MARAC meetings, monitoring cases, or reviewing implementation of recommendations by statutory authorities/agencies. In practice, this means that no authority or agency is held to account for taking action following a MARAC. This sits in marked contrast to the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA).97 All the senior public protection officers we interviewed agreed that the voluntary nature of the MARAC system resulted in a lack of accountability and undermined the effectiveness of the MARAC model to guarantee the protection of high risk victims of domestic abuse. Police forces confirmed the following in relation to MARACs in their force areas: + Responsibility for action lies with individual authorities/agencies. + The police do not review risk assessments completed by other agencies. + Statutory agencies found it “difficult to manage the risk of those with chaotic lifestyles who do not engage with agencies”. + Repeat referrals (cases where the victim has been referred to a MARAC in the last 12 months) are reviewed to identify if all actions from the last MARAC have been implemented, but there is no sanction where an authority has failed to act. + There is no formal audit of the implementation of recommendations made by the MARAC in relation to individual cases. 2. MARAC system overloaded All forces we interviewed as part of this study indicated that the system is currently overloaded, resulting in insufficient time for case review and inadequate case monitoring. In 2014, over 74,000 cases were discussed at MARACs across the UK.98 All police forces reported an increasing number of cases being brought to MARAC month on month. The MPS Newham Borough Community Safety Head stated that the numbers of monthly MARAC meetings have been increased in an effort to deal with the huge numbers of cases – e.g. 27 cases dealt with by one MARAC in one afternoon. In Rotherham, 20-25 MARAC cases are reviewed per week while in Sheffield, 20-30 MARAC cases are reviewed per week. West Midlands Police stated it is working hard to achieve a consistent approach to MARACs across its seven local authority areas. Each West Midlands MARAC is chaired by a detective inspector and the force has an overall improvement plan for MARAC. The force is working with the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure appropriate MARAC co-ordination and administration is in place across the whole of the West Midlands.99 Sheffield and Rotherham MARAC Steering Groups confirmed that their respective MARAC Co-ordinators conduct dip sample audits of MARAC cases every 12+ months. 3. Differences in resourcing and agency practices resulting in inconsistent protection for victims Differences in resources, powers and working practices of authorities and agencies produce inconsistent responses and outcomes and the danger that the MARAC becomes little more than a discussion forum, enabling individual authorities to escape accountability or responsibility for their actions/omissions rather than an integrated mechanism providing effective protection and support services for highly vulnerable victims. 43 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection FALLING NUMBERS OF ARRESTS AND SANCTIONS IN DOMESTIC ABUSE CASES
Summary of findings: + Arrest rates for domestic abuse perpetrators fell by 15% in 2016. + Less than 1 in 4 domestic abuse investigations results in a criminal charge. In the reporting year ending March 2016, there were a total of 1,031,120 domestic abuse-related incidents and crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales. Of these, 609,935 (59%) were classed as ‘incidents’ and not subsequently recorded as a crime.100 Despite the focus on domestic abuse as a policing priority, across England and Wales, the rate at which domestic abuse perpetrators are being arrested has fallen by 15%.101 In 2017, HMIC reported that in some forces, the use of arrest as a way to support and protect victims has reduced to disturbingly low levels and on too many occasions, formal and informal police action to protect victims and deter offending is not being carried out.102 There is considerable variation in arrest rates between police forces, from only a quarter of perpetrators of domestic abuse crimes being arrested in some forces to over three-quarters in others. For example, Leicestershire Police level of arrests for domestic abuse in the 12 months to 30 June 2016 was 39.0%, significantly below the 51.4% arrest rate for England and Wales as a whole. The number of domestic abuse investigations leading to a charge or summons fell to 18.1%. In South Yorkshire, in the 12 months to 30 June 2016, South Yorkshire Police domestic abuse arrest rate was 49.1%, just below the 51.4% arrest rate for England and Wales as a whole. Its domestic abuse charge rate was 28.1%, 5% higher than the 23.3% charge rate for England and Wales.103 Conviction rates in London are 10% lower for domestic abuse than the national average. There was no clear up recorded by the MPS in 4 out of every 5 crimes of VAWG. 80.5% of cases of crimes of violence against BME women were closed without outcome meaning only 19.5% of crimes of violence against BME women resulted in some form of sanction of the perpetrator. Additional data on the nature of crimes recorded by police force area and their outcomes is set out in the table in Appendix 4. 44 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection INADEQUATE USE OF POLICE POWERS TO PROTECT VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE
There is wide variation among police forces in the extent to which they use their powers and pursue criminal justice outcomes. In 2017, HMIC was critical of this inconsistent approach to using police powers and the wide variation in the extent to which investigations do not proceed further, concluding that “in too many cases officers are not using their powers or exercising their primary duties to keep people safe and bring offenders to justice in this area.”104 Recent legislative reforms – such as the introduction of Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) and the new offence of coercive and controlling behaviour – have been heralded as providing increased protection to victims of domestic abuse. The data on their use paints a very different picture. Summary of findings + The national average rate of Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) applied for by the police is 1 application per 100 domestic abuse flagged offences. + Police use of Domestic Violence Protection Notices (DVPNs) and DVPOs is low due to a lack of knowledge amongst front line officers and the time and cost implications for police. + 1 in 5 DVPOs were breached in 2015 with the police failing to take action to enforce these breaches, as well as breaches of non-molestation and restraining orders.105 + DVPNs and DVPOs are not likely to be used where an extended family resides in one household. This means a significant number of BME women will not benefit from the protection of these protection orders and they are not fit for purpose for all victims of domestic abuse.
Limited use of domestic violence protection notices and orders Domestic Violence Protection Notices (DVPNs) and Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs)106 are intended to provide protection to victims of domestic violence. A DVPN is an emergency non-molestation and eviction notice which can be issued by police when attending a domestic abuse incident. A DVPO can be authorised by a magistrates’ court to prevent a domestic abuse perpetrator from returning to a residence and from having contact with the victim for up to 28 days. The use of DVPOs by police forces across the project area in the 12 months to 30 June 2016 was as follows: + South Yorkshire Police: South Yorkshire Police applied for 72 DVPOs. The court authorised 55 of the 72 applications. + Leicestershire Police: 80 DVPNs issued and the force applied for 71 DVPOs, with 63 authorised by the courts. 14 DVPOs were recorded as breached. + Northumbria Police: 215 DVPNs issued and 174 DVPOs authorised. A total of 49 DVPOs were breached.107 + West Midlands Police: HMIC reported in March 2017 that West Midlands Police was still not consistently using DVPNs and DVPOs in appropriate cases.108 The force has now established a small dedicated team to improve the use of DVPNs and DVPOs. + Metropolitan Police Service: use of DVPNs and DVPOs was very low. MPS applied for a total of 126 DVPOs in 2016, a rate of 0.2 applications per 100 domestic abuse flagged offences. 45 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
Limited use of coercive control offence The Serious Crime Act 2015 created a new offence of controlling and coercive behaviour in intimate or family relationships which came into force in December 2015.109 The limited data on coercive control offences against women indicates low levels of recording of offences of coercive control and very low levels of charges in relation to the new offence. The table below sets out the outcomes of coercive control offences in London in 2016, revealing that there were only 235 coercive control offences recorded by the MPS in 12 months, of which 41% were perpetrated against BME women. Of total offences, there was no clear up recorded by police in over 86% of cases and less than 10% resulted in a summons or charge.110 Our findings in relation to Domestic Violence Protection Orders and the offence of controlling and coercive behaviour indicate that the new legislative provisions are in fact having a very limited impact in supporting and protecting victims of domestic abuse across England.
TABLE 4: Metropolitan Police Service recorded outcomes of coercive control offences 2016111 Outcome: all victims Domestic abuse Non-domestic abuse Total
No clear-up recorded 150 52 202 BME 61 20 80 White 78 21 99 Unknown 11 11 22
Caution 1 1 2 BME 1 0 1 White 0 1 1 Unknown 0 0 0
Charge/summons 30 1 31 BME 14 1 15 White 15 0 15 Unknown 1 0 1
Total 181 54 235 BME 76 22 98 White 93 21 1145 Unknown 12 11 23
The MARAC model for protection of high risk victims of domestic abuse should 7 be placed on a statutory footing, with the police designated and funded as the responsible authority with the duty to manage and co-ordinate the protection of high risk victims of domestic violence within their police force areas, and with other agencies under a duty to co-operate with the police in this task.
46 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection 6
FAiLinGs in pUBLiC AUthoritY responses to VioLenCe AGAinst BMe WoMen & GirLs 47 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
In this chapter, we analyse key areas where the response of public authorities to BME women victims of violence has been inadequate, demonstrating stereotyping and discrimination of BME women and girls and raising significant questions regarding public authorities’ compliance with domestic laws and human rights obligations. We make findings under the following headings: + Failure to protect BME victims of domestic abuse and slavery + Failure to protect high risk BME victims of violence + Failure to learn lessons from domestic homicides of BME women + Failure to protect BME victims of trafficking + Failure to protect BME girls from child sexual exploitation + Stereotyping of BME women and discrimination in provision of care and support
FAILURE TO PROTECT BME VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE AND SLAVERY
Summary of findings: + Cases of gender and racial stereotyping in the police response to BME women victims of domestic abuse. + Cases of inadequate risk assessment of BME victims by the police resulting in failure to put protective measures in place. + Cases demonstrating cultural insensitivity of police resulting in humiliation of BME women victims. + Cases of police response teams failing to recognise and investigate potential indicators of trafficking and domestic slavery of BME women. + Multiple instances of inadequate provision of appropriate interpreters for BME victims of domestic abuse in violation of the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. The cases below are just two examples of multiple cases we found across the area of study demonstrating the findings set out above. Case 4: BME victim of domestic abuse and slavery criminalised by police A was a non-UK national who had an arranged marriage to a British national. Two years after the marriage, A’s husband, N, brought her to live with him and his extended family in the UK on a two year spousal visa. As soon as A arrived in England, her husband was physically and verbally abusive and he and his mother controlled all A’s activities and movements. A was forced to clean the family home and to cook for all the extended family members. She was not allowed to learn English and was never allowed out of the house on her own except to attend doctor’s appointments. N threatened A that if she disclosed anything about her treatment to her doctor or health visitors, N would have A detained and deported. A was forbidden from contacting her family in her country of origin. A suffered domestic abuse by her husband, his mother and two brothers for over six years. In that six year period, A left the house approximately 10 times in total. 48 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
Finally, A telephoned her doctor’s surgery and disclosed the abuse. The surgery called the police. A was overheard by her brother-in-law and he assaulted her for reporting the abuse so she ran to her room for safety. Shortly afterwards the police arrived. They spoke with A’s husband and mother-in-law but did not seek to speak with A. She saw the police officers leaving from the window of her room and banged on the window. The police returned. Unable to speak English, A asked for an ‘interpreter’. Her husband told the police that A was mentally unstable and had been aggressive and violent towards his mother. The police decided to remove her from the house and arrested A without reasonable grounds for breaching the peace. She was deeply humiliated by being handcuffed by the police and being made to leave her home without her headscarf or her shoes. A was detained in a cell by police for five hours. Eventually she spoke with a male interpreter via telephone. At this point, police became aware that A was a victim of domestic abuse. However, the police at no point identified that she may be a victim of human trafficking and/or domestic slavery. The police took A back to the family home to collect her two sons and her belongings. Again there was no interpreter. N and his mother refused to allow A to take her two sons or her belongings so the police found her temporary accommodation in a women’s refuge. The police took no further action against N or his family. A contacted a BME VAW support service who helped A to obtain leave to remain in the UK and to apply for a custody order for her two sons. Eight months later A regained contact with her children. If the police had responded properly, A would not have lost custody of her sons. Case 5: School authority response to BME domestic abuse victim increases risk of harm to victim and her child A BME woman (E) contacted a specialist BME VAW service provider and disclosed that she was a victim of domestic abuse by her husband and mother-in-law. E reported that her husband had a gun and she feared for her life. The BME service provider made arrangements for E to be given emergency accommodation in a refuge for her safety. The next day, an advocacy worker accompanied E to collect her son from school and take him to the refuge for safety. The advocacy worker informed the Assistant Head of the school that E was a victim of domestic violence, that she had fled her home out of fear for her life and that she was staying in refuge accommodation where she wished to take her son for safety. Despite being informed of the potential danger to E and her son, the school telephoned her husband. He and his mother arrived at the school and tried to prevent E from taking her son. In the face of hostile threats and aggression, the advocacy worker drove E and her son out of the school. E’s husband followed them in his car. The advocacy worker drove to the local police station to ensure protection. 49 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection FAILURE TO PROTECT HIGH RISK BME VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE
Summary of findings: + Cases of public authorities failing in their response to high risk BME victims of domestic abuse. + Cases where police are not properly investigating reports of marital rape and may be violating their duties under ECHR Articles 2, 3 and 8. + Cases where the MARAC system is failing to protect high risk BME victims. Case 6: Failure to protect BME victim of domestic abuse and marital rape This case demonstrates the failure of multiple public authorities to protect a highly vulnerable young BME woman and raises serious questions as to possible violations by the police and health authorities of their duties to protect under ECHR Articles 2, 3 and 8. The inadequate police response to the victim’s multiple reports of marital rape also raise issues in relation to the duty to investigate under ECHR Article 3. A young British BME woman G reported assault and rape by her husband to her local police. The police referred G to emergency refuge accommodation and arrested her husband, who was subsequently discharged on bail with conditions that he was not to make any form of contact with G. G was admitted into specialist BME refuge accommodation and assessed as a very high risk victim. She was a victim of forced marriage, was self-harming and was very depressed. Two weeks later, G attempted suicide. The mental health team assessment identified no mental health needs. Nevertheless, following a risk assessment, the specialist BME service provider supporting G referred her case to a MARAC. Two weeks later, the case was reviewed but no recommendation for action was made. G reported to the police that her husband had posted inappropriate images of her on the internet “to shame her”. No action was taken by the police even though he had directly breached his bail conditions. A few days later, G informed refuge staff that she would be staying at a friend’s house for a couple of days to take care of her friend’s child while her friend gave birth. While visiting her friend in hospital, she was kidnapped by her parents and her husband and forced to drink something. She reported the incident but was unable to recall anything after the incident other than waking up at the marital property. BME refuge staff reported concerns for G’s safety to the police but were informed that the officer dealing with G’s case was on leave for four days. The following day, G again reported to the police that her husband had raped her and he was arrested. However, after several hours of giving a statement, G retracted her testimony and refused to go to hospital for a medical examination. The police took her back to the marital property at 10pm and then released her husband who returned to the same property at 11.30pm. G’s retraction of her statement halted any further action by the police. The police did not assess the risk of further harm to G and did not issue a Domestic Violence Protection Notice. A few days later, BME refuge staff contacted the police to report a distress call from G. They jointly visited G at the marital home. She spoke privately with refuge staff and reported that her husband had threatened to kill her if she left him. G left with the refuge staff and disclosed again that her husband had raped her. Three weeks later, G’s case was due to be heard at a second MARAC but her case was not discussed due to a large case list. Multiple cases we have reviewed across the area of review suggest an inadequate response by the police to investigating reports of marital rape by BME women. 50 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection RECOMMENDATION
The police should adopt a zero tolerance approach to marital rape and ensure 8 that all allegations of marital rape are effectively investigated.
FAILURE TO LEARN LESSONS FROM DOMESTIC HOMICIDEs OF BME WOMEN
A Domestic Homicide112 Review (DHR) is a multi-agency review of the circumstances in which the death of a person aged 16 or over has resulted from violence, abuse or neglect by a person to whom she was related, with whom she was (or had been) in an intimate partnership, or by a member of the same household. The aim of DHRs is to identify lessons to be learnt from the death.113 Summary of findings: + Cases demonstrating inadequate recording of domestic abuse incidents by police. + Cases demonstrating police failure to investigate reports of marital rape made by BME women. + Cases demonstrating inadequate protective measures put in place to safeguard BME victims of domestic abuse and their children. Home Office Review of DOMESTIC HOMICIDE REVIEWS In December 2016, the Home Office published an analysis of DHRs completed between January 2013 and March 2016.114 Historically the ethnicity of the victim and perpetrator were not recorded as part of the DHR process so the Home Office was unable as part of its review to identify particular issues or lessons to be learned in relation to domestic homicides of BME women.115 Its findings included: 1. Failure to identify or understand domestic violence and abuse: nearly 75% of DHRs of an intimate partner homicide identified cases where victims or perpetrators presented to authorities possible signs of domestic violence or abuse but this was not recognised or adequately explored.116 2. Failure to conduct any/adequate risk assessments: 82% of DHRs of intimate partner homicides identified issues in relation to risk assessment.117 3. Agencies failing to communicate or share information: 76% of DHRs of intimate partner homicides identified communication and information sharing between agencies as an issue. Cases recorded no feedback on the outcome of referrals, cases being closed without informing other agencies, risk assessments not being shared.118 We summarise below two recent DHRs of BME women which demonstrate the findings we have made above. CASE 7: Domestic homicide of BME woman by serial domestic abuse perpetrator ZA was a British BME woman. ZA began a relationship with WX in late 2012 and in 2013 they undertook an Islamic Sharia marriage. ZA’s family disowned her and cut off all contact because they opposed her marrying a Muslim man born in Bangladesh. ZA’s husband was known by the police in three police force areas – Essex, London and Hertfordshire. He was known to have had three previous partners, all of whom 51 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
had reported domestic abuse. Between 2006 and 2013, he was arrested multiple times for domestic violence (assaults included kicking, banging his partner’s head against a wall, head butting and strangling, threats to kill) and released without charge until 2011 when he was convicted for common assault. He successfully appealed the conviction. A few months after they were married, ZA reported to her solicitor that her husband was abusive. She made a sworn statement stating she was in fear of her life. She was granted a non-molestation order and an occupancy order from the County Court. Copies were served on the police in Newham. Two days after the orders were granted, she returned with her husband to her solicitor’s office and asked for the orders to be revoked. The solicitor spoke to ZA alone who told her that her husband had brought her to the office against her will and had threatened that unless she revoked the orders, she would never see her sons again. The solicitor called Hertfordshire Police who arrested her husband. When the police interviewed ZA, she disclosed that her husband had raped her the previous night. The statement was recorded on body worn video camera. The police were given a copy of her statement to the County Court which stated that her husband had raped her before. The police arrested her husband for rape. They then realised the initial kidnap and rape had taken place in London so they referred the case to the Metropolitan Police (MPS). The MPS Sapphire Investigation Team (specialist rape and sexual assault team) took responsibility for the investigation. A specialist officer was sent to interview ZA in Watford but an officer was not sent to interview her husband. It took four hours for the officer to arrive. During this time, ZA retracted her statement and was taken home. Her husband was released from police custody without charge. A crime record of the initial report of rape was not made by Hertfordshire police officers. The MPS report was recorded as a crime related incident and not classified as rape. No further action was taken by either police force. ZA was not offered medical help. The police report stated ‘Haven Services not applicable’ because there was ‘no rape’. A week later, ZA called police to her home. She reported that her husband was outside her house despite her injunction against him. MPS officers attended and found her husband at the house but did not arrest him. The police assessed her risk as ‘standard’ despite the fact that ZA provided positive responses for four heightened risk factors, including that she was pregnant. No reference was made to the abduction and rape reported eight days earlier. A secondary internal review of the case by the community safety unit did not identify any recorded domestic incidents due to an incorrect spelling of ZA’s name. In July 2013, the MPS received a call in the early hours of the morning from a mobile which cut off. The call was traced and found to be registered at ZA’s address. Officers went to her home and her husband and oldest daughter came to the door. The police went into the house and found ZA unconscious; she had been strangled. Her husband was arrested. ZA was taken to hospital but pronounced dead. CASE 8: Domestic homicide of BME woman following rape and sexual exploitation The case below highlights failings by multiple public authorities in responding to allegations of rape, sexual exploitation and risk of forced marriage. The case is important because it is one of very few DHRs which as a part of its terms of reference explicitly considered how (i) awareness and understanding of relevant cultural issues and (ii) consideration of equality duties impacted on responses and interventions of the various State authorities and agencies involved in the review. In considering cultural factors, the DHR Panel obtained expert advice from a BME VAW service provider. 52 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
E was a young British BME woman who was murdered by her partner/ex-partner, an Iraqi Kurd (Y) in 2013. He was convicted of murder in 2014. Y was accepted by Children, Young People and Family Services (CYPF) as an unaccompanied asylum seeking child in 2008. He was a ‘Looked After Child’ in the city from June 2008 to January 2011 (on his 18th birthday). This meant that the local authority and its partners were “corporate parents”.119 In January 2011, Y was suspended from College for physical violence against the young person with whom he shared accommodation. CYPF were aware of this but did not inform Housing Services when he was reallocated. In June 2011, Y informed a worker at The Children’s Society that he was involved in ‘risky behaviour’ – he had had sex with an underage girl; he had been the subject of a rape allegation; another girl was pregnant and it could have been him or one of five of his friends; he had been stopped for driving dangerously; he had been thrown out of a pub for violent behaviour – and that “his life was spiralling out of control”. The Children’s Society did not formally record the information or share it with CYPF or any other agency. E had been in a relationship with Y and there was evidence that she was subject to control and coercion by him. In July and August 2011, the police were called to her home a number of times in response to reports that she was being intimidated and harassed by Y and his friends. The police dealt with each of the reports of intimidation and harassment in an isolated manner and failed to identify that Y was already the subject of an anti-harassment order. In October 2011, E reported to police that she had been raped by Y. Her medical examination recorded bruises on a number of parts of E’s body. E’s statement of what had happened was taken by specially trained officers, evidence was promptly secured from the crime scene and Y was arrested. E was referred to Sexual Health Services which identified that she may have been groomed and sexually exploited. She was therefore referred again, this time to the Sexual Exploitation Service which scheduled a meeting three months after the referral. The subsequent review meeting did not take place and her case was closed in February 2013 without consultation. E subsequently retracted her rape allegation. Neither the police nor Children, Young People and Family Services questioned her retraction of the rape allegation or failed to consider her decision in light of the information known about Y’s coercive behaviour. In June 2013, E was found dead with serious stab wounds on the floor of Y’s flat.
The Home Office should make it a mandatory requirement to record key 9 information relating to the victim and perpetrator of a domestic homicide, including ethnicity, and all DHR Panels should explicitly assess whether local authorities and agencies met their obligations under the Equality Act.
DHR Panels reviewing the domestic homicide of a BME victim should 10 appoint an expert from a BME VAW organisation and explicitly consider how awareness and understanding of relevant cultural issues impacted public authorities’ responses to BME women victims of homicide. 53 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection FAILURE TO PROTECT BME VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING
In this section, we discuss the adequacy of support and protection provided to BME victims of trafficking.120 The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) is the UK’s system for monitoring and supporting survivors of trafficking.121 The dual purpose of the NRM is both to monitor the scale of trafficking and to provide support to victims. Although the UK response to trafficking has made huge progress over the past 15 years, there are significant shortcomings in the support provided to BME victims of trafficking to assist their recovery and rehabilitation. Of particular concern, the NRM falls short of protecting victims from further abuse. Restrictions on secure, long term accommodation and the complexity of routes to regulate immigration status leave trafficking victims vulnerable to exploitation and re-trafficking. There is a gulf between best practice guidance and the realities of implementation in relation to identification and support of trafficking victims. Summary of findings: + Cases demonstrating that support offered within the NRM system is inadequate to meet the complex needs of trafficking victims. + Cuts to frontline agencies have resulted in the reduction in specialist services skilled and resourced to effectively respond to the complex needs of trafficking victims. + The bifurcation of the NRM system between the UK Human Trafficking Centre which decides on European Economic Area (EEA) claims and the Home Office which decides on non-EEA cases appears to have resulted in discrimination according to victim nationality.122 + A lack of knowledge of trafficking indicators among public authorities, including police and social services, means that many potential trafficking victims are not being identified and that those who are may not be provided with sufficient and accurate information to give informed consent for referral to the NRM. Immigration status Many victims of trafficking brought to the UK from outside the EEA struggle with insecure immigration status once they escape their exploitation. Although guidance outlines the possibility of granting discretionary leave to remain to victims,123 this is rarely given. In a recent report, the Human Trafficking Foundation highlighted, “it remains the case that some victims receive a positive Conclusive Grounds decision which formally recognises them as having been trafficked, together with a letter asking them to leave the UK and information about voluntary returns.”124 Faced with the impossible option of returning home, victims are forced to enter an increasingly complex immigration route to obtain a right to reside. Case 9 below is typical of cases reported to us across the area of review where both trafficking and asylum decisions arrive simultaneously and appear to inform one another, in direct contradiction of Home Office Guidance.125 Case 9: Inadequate interpretation services resulting in refusal to recognise non-UK BME victim of trafficking A BME woman (M) received a negative Conclusive Grounds (CG) decision and simultaneously a negative asylum claim on the basis of the CG decision. The main piece of evidence informing the CG decision was the transcript from her substantive asylum interview, which included inaccurate information. M explained that the interpreter did not speak her mother tongue and she struggled to understand him. The interpreter was male which inhibited M from disclosing information of a sexual nature. In addition, her two year old daughter was present in her initial screening interview and M did not want to disclose her experiences to avoid distressing her young child. 54 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
Accommodation Often outside their country of origin, unaware of their rights in the UK and at high risk of re-exploitation, trafficking victims are crucially dependent on secure accommodation. Unfortunately, accommodation through the NRM falls short of providing safety. With women’s refuges dependent on eligibility for housing benefit to fund bed spaces, very few have the capacity to accept women whose immigration status makes them ineligible. If a woman has an ongoing asylum claim she is eligible for NASS accommodation, but she is likely to be moved to another part of the country, away from support networks. Case 10 illustrates our finding. Case 10: Failure to support pregnant BME woman victim of trafficking because referral outside 45 day limit On referral into the NRM, she received a positive Reasonable Grounds (RG) decision, but was not offered accommodation as she was deemed to be safe in her current accommodation, sleeping on the floor of the flat of an acquaintance. She was pregnant and it became impossible for her to remain at the flat. Her referral to the Salvation Army through the NRM was rejected on the grounds that her decision was over the 45 day ‘reflection and recovery’ period, would be made shortly and it would be inconvenient for her to be rehoused again. Her referral to the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) accommodation was not possible within London without a long wait. Her referral to Children’s Services was possible only at seven months of pregnancy. She was forced to stay sleeping on the floor of her current accommodation. Within her final two months of pregnancy she was moved three times before she was finally moved to NASS-provided mother and baby accommodation days before her child was born. The accommodation she eventually accessed was provided outside the NRM system – her pregnancy entitled her to limited support from Children’s Services and her ongoing asylum claim provided her with temporary accommodation. Failure to identify indicators of trafficking The Modern Slavery Act 2015 imposes a duty to notify requirement on statutory agencies to anonymously report their encounters with trafficking victims. Home Office Guidance states that the duty to notify is distinct from referrals under the National Referral Mechanism (NRM).126 We have already highlighted in this report multiple cases when statutory authorities have failed to identify indicators of trafficking, which means they are failing to meet their obligations under the Modern Slavery Act.
Trauma-informed training on indicators of human trafficking should be made 11 mandatory for police response officers and front line public services.
The Government should commission an independent review of the NRM 12 system to assess whether the bifurcation between the UK Human Trafficking Centre deciding on EEA claims and the Home Office deciding on non-EEA cases has resulted in discrimination according to trafficking victim nationality. 55 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection FAILURE TO PROTECT BME GIRLS FROM CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
Summary of findings: + Cases of stereotyping and discrimination by local agencies resulting in a failure to accurately assess vulnerability of BME girls and behaviour associated with trauma. + Cases demonstrating the huge difficulties vulnerable victims have navigating complex local authority processes. + Cases demonstrating a lack of co-ordination between agencies supporting vulnerable BME girls or young adults. Child Safeguarding Services failing to make referrals of vulnerable BME girls to Adult Safeguarding when they reach the age of 18. + Cases where an unreasonable burden is being placed upon BME VAW service providers to act as the single point of contact between vulnerable BME clients and all other statutory services and agencies. While there has been a growing awareness of child sexual exploitation (CSE) and a significant increase in the reporting of CSE over the last few years and police and statutory agencies involved in the protection of children have implemented much needed changes to their approach to tackling CSE, BME girls who suffer violence are often slow to access services and support. The case study below highlights our findings. Case 11: Failure to protect vulnerable BME victim of CSE In 2010, a School Health Advisor was informed of the possible pregnancy of a 15 year old girl Z. She was confirmed pregnant. Hospital records indicated Z had disclosed having sex on many occasions and that money had been exchanged during some of these times. A referral was made to Children’s Social Care but no follow up action was taken. Z and her mother consented to terminate her pregnancy. A second referral was made to Children’s Social Care regarding the termination, along with the disclosure that Z’s previous ‘partner’ was significantly older than her – 24 years old – and that Z had been threatened by a ‘friend’ to have sex with him. There is no action taken in response to these disclosures. Two years later, Z (17 years) visited a walk-in centre requesting emergency contraception, which was provided. She was living in temporary accommodation. She went to hospital and was confirmed to be 22 weeks pregnant. She recorded her next of kin as the girl she had previously disclosed as making her take part in sexual activities for money. Concerns were recorded that Z was associating with males and receiving alcohol, drugs, money and somewhere to stay in exchange for sex. Nonetheless, Children’s Social Care closed her case as she was nearly 18 years old and would receive support as part of the child protection plan for her (unborn) child. They did not refer Z to Adult Safeguarding. By her 18th birthday, Z was ‘sofa surfing’, had no income and was not receiving benefits. Her child was placed in foster care and she was referred to a specialist BME VAW support service for parenting lessons and advocacy support. The BME support service was not given information by Children’s Social Services regarding concerns of possible sexual exploitation. Her BME support worker secured emergency hostel accommodation for Z. A month later, Z disclosed to her advocacy worker that she had been physically assaulted. She was very distressed and the advocacy worker feared that she may have been sexually assaulted. 56 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
In June 2013, the local authority started care proceedings in relation to Z’s child with a plan for permanent removal. The next month, Z was recorded as missing from her accommodation for several weeks and her whereabouts were unknown. No safeguarding alert was made. By 2014, risks of Z’s sexual exploitation were again identified following reports to police by two of her friends that they had been raped on numerous occasions by a group of men and Z was also a victim. Police referred her case to the Adult Safeguarding Unit. She was allocated a flat in the local authority’s homeless accommodation. Her social worker identified risks to her health and wellbeing as “due to her lifestyle and associations” and Adults Safeguarding Unit closed her case. Z was subsequently recorded as being at the centre of parties involving CSE suspects. Her social worker and housing support worker concluded that she was a “capacitated adult with no social care needs apparent”. A Safeguarding Adults Meeting again identified that Z (now 19 years) had been mentioned in disclosures made by other victims about sexual exploitation. Concerns were raised around Z’s capacity but her doctor decided a psychological assessment would not be easy to arrange so no assessment was made. At the beginning of 2015, a maternity risk assessment identified Z as a vulnerable adult. Her unborn child was made the subject of a child protection plan. No protection plan was placed around Z. Later, a mental health risk assessment identified significant risk in relation to Z’s physical condition and self-neglect and a serious and imminent risk in relation to adult abuse and exploitation.
Public authorities should be better trained on assessing vulnerability 13 and understanding behaviour associated with trauma and exploitation.
Child Safeguarding Services and Adult Safeguarding Services should 14 establish more effective referral systems for vulnerable or at risk BME girls aged 17 and 18.
57 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection STEREOTYPING OF BME WOMEN AND DISCRIMINATION IN PROVISION OF CARE AND SUPPORT
Summary of findings: + Cases of inadequate safeguarding of BME women victims of violence. + Evidence demonstrating the removal of a disproportionate number of children from BME women victims of domestic violence on the ground that they have failed to protect their children. + Cases of public authorities failing to refer BME women victims of violence to BME VAW support services. All the BME VAW service providers we interviewed as part of this study reported discrimination against BME women who sought to access local authority services for themselves and their children when they had left the family home due to domestic abuse. BME VAW service providers stated that BME women are surrounded by a “culture of disbelief” when they disclose that they are victims of sexual, physical and/ or domestic violence to statutory authorities. Inadequate safeguarding of BME women victims of violence We received multiple reports of social services failing to assess the care and support needs of BME women victims of domestic abuse. Senior public protection officers from across the police forces in the area of review informed us that because of a widespread misperception that local authorities and police have statutory duties in relation to child safeguarding which they do not have in relation to adult safeguarding, there is a ‘huge gap’ between safeguarding responses to children and safeguarding responses to adults. The result of this flawed approach to safeguarding in domestic abuse cases is that the focus on safeguarding children is often at the cost of safeguarding BME women who are victims of domestic abuse. The cases below demonstrate the consequences of this flawed approach and raise significant questions as to whether local authorities are complying with their duties under the Care Act 2014 and the Human Rights Act 1998 (in particular, ECHR Article 3). Case 12: Failure to safeguard BME victim of severe domestic violence and marital rape A British born BME woman (E) who had suffered 10 years of domestic violence and marital rape by her husband decided to flee the family home. She took her four children (between 8 and 12 years old) and sought local authority refuge accommodation. E was highly traumatised due to the levels of violence she had experienced. There was no BME refuge or specialist BME VAW support services nearby and E became increasingly isolated and unable to cope. Child services became involved with the family. A court guardian was appointed for the children who commissioned a BME Parenting Support Advisor to complete a parenting assessment. However, social services failed to assess E’s own mental health or care needs. The BME Advisor became increasingly worried about E and informed social services and mental health services that E was in need of help. No action was taken in response. E suffered a psychotic breakdown and was taken into hospital for treatment. Her children were removed and taken into long term foster care. Her family did not understand that she had a serious mental illness and accused her of being involved in “black magic”. When she was released from hospital, she had no-one to support her. 58 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
Case 13: Social services ignore domestic abuse in child custody case The next case demonstrates multiple cases reported to us of stereotypical and discriminatory judgments of BME mothers by social services. W married a British BME man. As soon as she arrived in the UK on a spousal visa, W was treated like a domestic slave and subjected to constant violent abuse and bullying. She was made to work long hours in her husband’s shop, even when pregnant. Her husband restricted her movements and did not allow W to meet anyone on her own. She was subjected to constant threats that if she did not do as her husband told her, he would deport her. W’s husband was also physically abusive to their sons. After years of abuse, W contacted a local specialist BME VAW service provider and began divorce proceedings. W’s husband sought sole custody of their sons, claiming that W was a bad mother. W’s husband threatened to kill W by running her over with his car and throwing acid in her face if she did not leave the UK. W reported the threats to the police who did not take them seriously. W’s husband posted photos online of a naked woman photo-shopped with W’s face. Her brothers saw the photos and told her she had shamed the family and that she should never return to her home country. W went back to visit her family to explain what was happening to her. In her absence, a child arrangement hearing took place. Social services were critical of W and called her a ‘negligent mother’. Her ex-husband was awarded custody of their sons, despite the fact that he had abused them. None of the reports by social services made any reference to the fact that W was a victim of domestic violence, domestic slavery and a potential trafficking victim. With the support of the BME VAW service provider, W submitted a letter to the court outlining the history of abuse she had suffered. The judge hearing the case stated that he wanted to know everything about the domestic abuse before he made any further ruling regarding the custody of her children. REMOVAL OF CHILDREN FROM BME VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE Nearly three quarters of mothers fighting for their children have been subject to domestic violence.127 This figure is confirmed by other research showing that domestic abuse features in 70-90% of cases going to family court and in 70% of CAFCASS128 cases.129 Our review has identified cases where children have been removed from BME mothers on the basis of poor parenting skills, when in fact social services and child services are failing to take account of different cultural practices in relation to child rearing (e.g. South Asian mothers feeding their children by hand; Muslim mothers allowing children to stay up during Ramadan to take part in breaking of the fast) and when children have been removed on the basis of the BME mother’s failure to protect the children from abuse. The 2017 Legal Action for Women report supports this assessment, concluding that “while support for the mother who has been struggling to protect her children is not forthcoming, state intervention triggered by “safeguarding” powers is leading to more children being separated from their mothers and siblings”.130 BME VAW service providers believe there is a disproportionate response to removing children from BME mothers. The case below is an example of multiple cases reported to us during the course of our study. 59 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
Case 14: Removal of children from BME victim of domestic abuse and failure to risk assess BME girl put into foster care W self-referred to a specialist BME domestic abuse service in June 2016. W’s main concern was the removal of her four step-children into local authority care. W’s husband was abusive. She had taken the children from the family home when she discovered he was abusing the children. The local authority subsequently removed the children from W’s care on the ground that she had failed to protect the children. W was assessed by the BME support worker (a qualified Independent Domestic Violence Advisor131) to be a victim of emotional, psychological and economic abuse, honour based violence and coercive-control perpetrated by her husband, D, who had subjected W to threats and humiliation in relation to her cultural and social upbringing and family background and exploited W’s financial dependence and reliance on him for her immigration status. W disclosed to her BME support worker that she was very worried about her oldest step-daughter whose behaviour had changed significantly over the previous months – she had been spending all her time in her room, had been missing from school and W had found graphic pornographic videos and explicit images of her with messages from older men on her Facebook account. Her BME support worker stepped in and completed a Child at Risk of Sexual Exploitation Assessment on the basis of the information that W had provided. She notified Children’s Social Care and the police. FAILURE TO REFER BME WOMEN VICTIMS TO BME VAW SUPPORT SERVICES The senior police public protection officers that we interviewed stated that their forces had only ad hoc, informal relationships with some BME VAW service providers working within their force area.132 Specialist BME VAW service providers confirmed that police engagement with them is patchy and inconsistent. The result of this lack of engagement results in lower than average referrals by the police to these specialist services. This has a direct impact on the choice of support services offered to BME victims of violence. The case below illustrates our findings. Case 15: BME victim of domestic abuse denied access to BME VAW support service F, a 23 year old BME woman, arrived in England on a spousal visa after an arranged marriage to a British BME man. From the moment she arrived in England, F’s husband was physically and sexually violent and F was treated as a domestic slave133 by him and his extended family. She was made to work in the family’s shop from early morning until late at night and made to do all the household cleaning and laundry. Her movements were completely controlled by her husband and his parents – F was taken to the shop and brought home every day; she was not allowed to register with a doctor and she had no national insurance number. After some time, F’s husband divorced her through the Islamic practice of triple talaq134 but her mother-in-law told her she had to remain in the house and pretend to be married. After about eight months, F disclosed the abuse she was suffering to her uncle. Her uncle contacted a BME VAW service provider for advice. He advised F to leave some of her personal belongings at her uncle’s house. Eventually, F decided to leave her husband. Her husband tried to stop her but she managed to escape. 60 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
F’s uncle took her to the police station to report the domestic violence. F was severely traumatised and was hospitalised for three days. Whilst in hospital, she asked to be referred to the local BME VAW service provider. The police instead contacted a generic VAW service provider. When she left the hospital, F was taken to a refuge out of the local council area for her own safety. F applied for an injunction against her husband and his parents on the grounds of their domestic abuse. Her in-laws challenged the injunction and reported to police that F had stolen gold jewellery from their home. The police disclosed the whereabouts of F to her in-laws, putting her at serious risk. She had to be moved from the secure refuge where she was staying for her protection. F was not granted an injunction on the grounds that she had moved location. There are obvious and clear imperatives for the police to engage with specialist BME VAW service providers: (i) They have direct links with the communities they service and the issues facing vulnerable BME women in the local area. (ii) They can provide advice and expertise to the police on how best to support BME women victims of violence. (iii) The police have a duty to protect BME women at real and immediate risk of harm and BME VAW service providers need to have effective points of contact for the police.
Police services should build structured and professional partnerships with 15 specialist BME VAW service providers in their force areas to improve police responses to risks facing BME women victims of violence. The Home Office should conduct an independent review analysing the 16 data of children taken into care following a disclosure of domestic abuse to ascertain whether there is a disproportionate number of children removed from BME mothers. 61 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection 7
reCoMMenDAtions For neW DoMestiC VioLenCe BiLL 62 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NEW DOMESTIC VIOLENCE BILL
The Government has launched an open invitation for ideas across the VAW sector on the contents of the new Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill in advance of launching a formal consultation. Early indications suggest that the new Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill will at a minimum include the following:135 + Introduce a statutory definition for domestic violence + Establish a special commissioner to protect the rights of victims + Create a new aggravated offence when domestic violence is directed towards a child + Allow certain offences committed by British citizens anywhere in the world to be prosecuted in the UK courts (this extraterritorial jurisdiction legislation is required for the UK to comply with the Istanbul Convention)
In light of the findings and recommendations of this report, Sisters For Change believes the desired transformational impact of the new legislation will only be achieved if requisite attention is given to:
(i) A clear and unambiguous definition of domestic abuse, including the gendered nature of the crime and the different forms, types and characteristics of violence as it impacts all women in the UK, of all ethnicities.
(ii) Recognition of the different lived experiences of different groups of victims – BME, LGBT, disabled, white, other – and the different needs, protections or support services that each group may have or require.
(iii) Clearly defining the role, responsibilities and powers of the new Commissioner for Domestic Abuse Victims to ensure her mandate gives her authority to hold local Councillors, local authority VAW Commissioners, Police and Crime Commissioners and other bodies at the local and national level to account for effectively responding to victims, especially BME women victims of abuse.
The Chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, Cllr Simon Blackburn, in his response to the new Bill highlighted this factor: “Councils will expect to work collaboratively with the new Commissioner to support the objectives of the Bill and embed good practice across the country…It will be important that there is consistency between the approach of the new Commissioner and the National Statement of Expectations for councils on violence against women and girls… published by government last December.”136 63 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME women in England Unequal regard, unequal protection
(iv) Addressing the current weaknesses and failings in public authority and criminal justice responses to victims of domestic abuse identified in this report, including: a. The inconsistent priority given to tackling domestic abuse across England, including different priorities accorded to it by individual Police & Crime Commissioners. b. The voluntary nature of the MARAC model, which results in a lack of accountability and undermines the protection of high risk victims. c. The overload of the MARAC system resulting in inadequate time for case review and monitoring. d. The inadequate use of police powers to protect victims of domestic abuse and the lack of enforcement action taken in response to breaches of DVPOs, non-molestation orders and injunctions. e. The falling arrest rates for perpetrators of domestic abuse. f. The lack of accountability of Domestic Homicide Reviews. g. The failure to give due consideration to domestic violence and abuse in child custody hearings. h. The historical failure to disaggregate data relating to victims and their treatment by criminal justice authorities, specifically BME women and girls.
Chapter 5 and 6 discuss each of these points in more detail and provide evidence of current failings.
(v) Addressing current weaknesses and discrimination in the commissioning and funding of VAW services, in particular specialist BME VAW service provision, by: a. Defining a central ring-fenced fund for BME VAW service provision at a national level to ensure long-term sustainability of those providing support services/refuges, community outreach and advocacy. b. Setting minimum levels of BME VAW service provision in each region of England. This should also clarify responsibilities at the central government vs. local government level. c. Improve current victim referral pathways across the statutory and non- statutory sector to ensure greater victim choice and more effective victim support. d. Simplify central Government funding of VAW and domestic abuse to make it more accessible to smaller VAW service providers, not just leading national organisations or consortia.
Chapter 3 and 4 discuss each of these points in more detail and provide evidence of current failings.
(vi) Ensure effective implementation of the new legislation through adequate resourcing (for policing, support services and victims) and specialist training (for police, the CPS, judiciary, local authorities and health services) on new legal provisions, mechanisms, powers and specialist provision for BME and other groups. 64 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection AppenDiX 1 hUMAn riGhts oBLiGAtions oF UK stAte AUthorities to prohiBit DisCriMinAtion AnD VioLenCe AGAinst WoMen
ConVention on the eLiMinAtion oF ALL ForMs oF DisCriMinAtion AGAinst WoMen
CeDAW proVision stAte oBLiGAtion Article 1: Discrimination against women means any distinction, defi nition of discrimination exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the eff ect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other fi eld. CEDAW General Discrimination against women includes gender-based Recommendation No.19 violence – violence which is directed against a woman (1992) & No. 35 (2017) because she is a woman or that aff ects a woman disproportionately. Article 2(b) To adopt appropriate legislative and other measures prohibiting all discrimination and gender based violence against women. Article 2(c) To establish legal protection of the rights of women on an equal basis with men and to ensure through competent national tribunals and other public institutions the eff ective protection of women against any act of discrimination or gender based violence. Article 2(d) To ensure all public authorities and institutions do not engage in any act or practice of discrimination or gender based violence against women. Article 2(e) To take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination and gender based violence against women by private actors – any person, organization or enterprise. Article 2(f) To take all measures to modify or abolish existing laws, customs and practices which constitute discrimination or gender based violence against women. Article 3 To take in all fi elds (political, social, economic and cultural) all measures to ensure the full advancement of women for the purpose of guaranteeing them the full and equal enjoyment of human rights. Article 5(a) To modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women. Article 6 To take all appropriate measures to suppress all forms of traffi c in women and exploitation of prostitution of women. 65 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection
ConVention on the eLiMinAtion oF ALL ForMs oF rACiAL DisCriMinAtion
CerD proVision stAte oBLiGAtion Article 1: Racial discrimination means any distinction, exclusion, restriction defi nition of or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic discrimination origin which has the purpose or eff ect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other fi eld of public life. Article 2(1)(a) To ensure that all public authorities and institutions do not engage in any act or practice of racial discrimination against persons, groups of persons or institutions. Article 2(1)(b) Not to sponsor, defend or support racial discrimination by any persons or organisations. Article 2(1)(c) To review government, national and local policies and to amend or repeal any laws or regulations which have the eff ect of creating or perpetuating racial discrimination. Article 2(1)(d) To prohibit racial discrimination by private actors – any person, group or organisation. Article 2(2) To take in all fi elds (political, social, economic and cultural) concrete measures to ensure the full advancement of certain racial groups or persons belonging to for the purpose of guaranteeing them the full and equal enjoyment of human rights. Article 3 To condemn and prevent, prohibit and eradicate all practices of racial segregation and apartheid in territories under their jurisdiction. Article 4 + To condemn all propaganda and organisations based on ideas of racial superiority or hatred. + To adopt immediate and positive measures designed to eradicate all incitement to, or promotion of, racial hatred and discrimination in any form. Articles 5 & 6 To prohibit, eliminate and ensure eff ective protection and remedies against racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law in the enjoyment of the following rights: + Right to equal treatment before all courts or tribunals administering justice; + Right to security of the person and protection by the State against violence or bodily harm, whether infl icted by state or private actors; + Other civil rights including the right to freedom of movement and residence within the border of the State; the right to housing; the right to public health, medical care, social security and social services. Article 7 To adopt immediate and eff ective measures, particularly in the fi elds of teaching, education, culture and information, with a view to combating prejudices which lead to racial discrimination and to promoting understanding, tolerance and friendship among nations and racial or ethnical groups. 66 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection
hUMAn riGhts ACt 1998 hrA proVision stAte oBLiGAtion s.6(1) It is unlawful for a public authority to act in a way which is incompatible with a Convention right. HRA Schedule 1 Sets out Convention rights including: Article 2(1) Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. Article 3 No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Article 4 (1) No one shall be held in slavery or servitude. (2) No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour. Article 8 (1) Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence. (2) There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. Article 14 The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status. 67 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection
CoUnCiL oF eUrope ConVention on preVentinG & CoMBAtinG VioLenCe AGAinst WoMen & DoMestiC VioLenCe (istAnBUL ConVention) istAnBUL ConVention stAte oBLiGAtion proVision Article 3 Violence against women is a violation of human rights and Defi nitions a form of discrimination against women and means all acts of gender-based violence that result in, or are likely to result in, physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suff ering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, occurring in public or private. Domestic violence means all acts of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence that occur within the family or domestic unit or between former or current spouses or partners, whether or not the perpetrator shares or has shared the same residence with the victim. Gender-based violence against women means violence which is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that aff ects women disproportionately. Article 4 To promote & protect the right for everyone, particularly Protection of women, to live free from violence in both the public & the human rights private sphere. Article 4(3) To protect the rights of victims without discrimination on Prohibition against any ground such as sex, gender, race, colour, language, discrimination religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, state of health, disability, marital status, migrant or refugee status, or other status. Article 5 To ensure that all State authorities and agents do not State obligations engage in any act of violence against women. To exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate, punish and provide reparation for acts of VAWG perpetrated by non-State actors. Article 7 To adopt and implement State-wide eff ective, VAW policies comprehensive and co-ordinated policies to prevent and combat all forms of violence covered under the Convention. Article 8 To allocate appropriate fi nancial & human resources for the Financial resourcing adequate implementation of integrated policies, measures & programmes to prevent & combat violence covered under the Convention. Article 9 To establish one or more offi cial bodies responsible for the Monitoring body co-ordination, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and measures to prevent and combat all forms of violence covered under the Convention. Article 10 To support research and collect disaggregated statistical Data gathering data on cases of all forms of violence covered under the Convention. 68 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection
CoUnCiL oF eUrope ConVention on preVentinG & CoMBAtinG VioLenCe AGAinst WoMen & DoMestiC VioLenCe (istAnBUL ConVention) Cont istAnBUL ConVention stAte oBLiGAtion proVision Article 12(1) To take the necessary measures to promote changes in Measures to prevent the social and cultural patterns of behaviour of women and men with a view to eradicating prejudices, customs, traditions and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority of women or on stereotyped roles for women and men. Article 12(3) To address the specifi c needs of persons made Vulnerable victims vulnerable by particular circumstances and place the human rights of victims at the centre of all measures. Article 15(1) To provide appropriate training for professionals dealing Training with victims or perpetrators of acts of violence covered under the Convention, on the prevention and detection of such violence, equality between women and men, the needs and rights of victims and on how to prevent secondary victimisation. Article 18 To protect all victims from any further acts of violence, Measures to protect ensuring measures will: + be based on a gendered understanding of violence against women and domestic violence and shall focus on the human rights and safety of the victim; + be based on an integrated approach which takes into account the relationship between victims, perpetrators, children and their wider social environment; + aim at avoiding secondary victimisation; + address the specifi c needs of vulnerable persons, including child victims, and be made available to them. Article 22(1) To provide, in an adequate geographical distribution, Specialist support immediate, short- and long-term specialist support services to any victim subjected to acts of violence covered under the Convention. Article 23 To provide appropriate, easily accessible shelters in Shelters suffi cient numbers to provide safe accommodation for victims, especially women and their children. Article 31 To ensure that in the determination of custody and Child custody visitation rights of children, incidents of violence covered under the Convention are taken into account. Article 42 To ensure that in criminal proceedings initiated Unacceptable justifi cation following the commission of acts of violence covered for violence under the Convention, culture, custom, religion, tradition or so-called “honour” shall not be regarded as justifi cation for such acts. 69 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection
CoUnCiL oF eUrope ConVention on preVentinG & CoMBAtinG VioLenCe AGAinst WoMen & DoMestiC VioLenCe (istAnBUL ConVention) istAnBUL ConVention stAte oBLiGAtion proVision Article 44(2) To establish jurisdiction over any off ence of violence Jurisdiction covered under the Convention where the off ence is committed against a State national or a person who has her or his habitual residence in the State territory. Article 45(1) To ensure that the off ences established in accordance with this Convention are punishable by eff ective, proportionate sanctions. Article 49 To ensure the eff ective investigation and prosecution Investigation & of off ences of all forms of violence covered under the prosecution Convention are carried out without undue delay. Article 50 To ensure that law enforcement agencies respond to all forms of violence covered under the Convention promptly and appropriately by off ering adequate and immediate protection to victims. Article 51 To ensure an assessment of the lethality risk, the Risk assessment seriousness of the situation and the risk of repeated violence is carried out by relevant authorities in order to manage the risk and if necessary to provide co-ordinated safety and support. Article 53 To ensure that appropriate restraining or protection Protection orders orders are available to victims of all forms of violence covered under the Convention. Article 56 To protect the rights and interests of victims, including Protective measures their special needs as witnesses, at all stages of investigations and judicial proceedings. Article 59 To ensure that victims whose residence status depends Residence status on that of the spouse or partner, in the event of the dissolution of the relationship, are granted in the event of diffi cult circumstances an autonomous residence permit. 70 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection AppenDiX 2 LoCAL GoVernMent strUCtUre & responsiBiLities
Given the important role that local government, including Police and Crime Commissioners, now play in commissioning local services for violence against women, it is important to understand how local decision making – and funding – is structured. LoCAL AUthorities England is subdivided into nine regions. Every local authority (excluding london) falls under one of these regions. Under these regions, there are two diff erent patterns of local government: + County council responsible for services, working with non-metropolitan district councils, called two-tier authorities + Unitary authorities, called single tier authorities. This includes metropolitan district councils, metropolitan borough councils or metropolitan city councils and london borough councils The chart below, published by the National Audit Offi ce in its local Government overview 2015-16, illustrates the diff erent local authority structures and defi nes their responsibilities, in terms of services like social care, housing and health. LoCAL GoVernMent strUCtUre & responsiBiLities (nAtionAL AUDit oFFiCe 2016)
Adults’ and children’s social care, transport planning1, highways1, 27 county councils public health 33 56 36 London borough unitary councils metropolitan Local tax, housing, planning1, leisure, councils borough councils 201 district waste collection and environment councils
7 combined authorities such as Greater Manchester, with a further 5 proposed. 7 Joint working across joint waste authorities - all made up of representatives from principal authorities. geographical areas Local authorities are key partners in the 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships
46 ﬁ re and rescue authorities, made up of councillors from the principal Fire and rescue authorities. Includes 30 stand-alone ﬁ re authorities, 15 within counties, and one as a functional body of the Greater London Authority
37 areas headed by an elected police and crime commissioner; Policing 39 police forces2
Conservation and promotion 10 National Parks of scenic areas
Local facilities, eg management There are around 9,000 parish and town councils, of town and village centres, parks, although these do not exist in all areas allotments and community halls
1 In London, the Greater London Authority also has responsibility in these areas. 2 The number of police and crime commissioners diﬀ ers from the number of police forces because the Metropolitan Police Service and City of London Police have diﬀ erent arrangements compared to diﬀ erent areas.
poLiCe ForCe AreAs There are 39 police force areas in England including the Metropolitan Police District and City of london police area. Each area covers one or more local authorities, non-metropolitan and/or metropolitan districts. 71 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection AppenDiX 3 initiAL poLiCe response to CoMpLAints oF DoMestiC ABUse
LeiCestershire poLiCe FinDinG: neArLY 50% oF CAses Where DoMestiC ABUse ViCtiM initiALLY AssesseD At hiGh-risK oF serioUs inJUrY or DeAth inAppropriAteLY DoWnGrADeD. In its 2016 annual inspection, HMIC reported risk assessments by leicestershire Police response offi cers attending a domestic abuse incident were “fully completed, with accurate assessments of risk recorded and included consideration of the impact upon children when at the scene of domestic incidents”.137 However, HMIC was critical that a secondary review of DASH risk assessments by supervisors before referral to specialist domestic abuse teams for investigation resulted in “inappropriate downgrading of risk”, reporting that around 50% of cases where the victim was initially assessed as being at high-risk of serious injury or death were downgraded, the majority inappropriately.138 This reduces the number of cases referred for consideration by the multi-agency risk assessment conference (MARAC). HMIC reported that in the 12 months to 31 March 2016, 798 cases were referred to the MARAC by all agencies across leicestershire. This was an increase from 595 cases in the preceding 12 months but only equates to 19 cases per 10,000 adult females in leicestershire, signifi cantly below the England and Wales rate of 34 cases per 10,000 adult females. In addition, only 395 of the referrals were made by leicestershire Police.139 These fi ndings mean that it is very likely that leicestershire Police are failing to identify vulnerable persons and that high risk victims of domestic abuse are not being provided with necessary protection or support. soUth YorKshire poLiCe FinDinG: inADeQUAte risK AssessMent AnD sAFeGUArDinG reFerrALs in DoMestiC ABUse CAses South Yorkshire Police recently completed a strategic profi le of domestic abuse to give it a better understanding of the nature and scale of domestic abuse.140 However, in its 2016 annual inspection, HMIC reported that South Yorkshire Police routinely fails to complete quality risk-assessments for victims of domestic abuse, which means that the force might not be safeguarding vulnerable victims eff ectively. HMIC reported that South Yorkshire offi cers attending domestic abuse incidents “fail to assess vulnerability eff ectively during their initial response”141 or complete quality risk- assessments with the result that the police may fail to safeguard victims eff ectively. HMIC reported that DASH risk assessment forms are regularly submitted incomplete, and without the attending offi cer’s observations.142 South Yorkshire has no quality assurance or governance process in place to hold offi cers and supervisors to account when DASH risk assessments are incomplete or the quality is inadequate. HMIC reported that South Yorkshire “routinely fails to provide adequate domestic abuse safeguarding referrals, and poor quality information is being recorded from crime scenes.”143 The threshold the force has for allocation of specialist detectives to work on high-risk investigations is very high: for an incident to be allocated to the public protection unit (PPU), it needs to be a high-risk domestic abuse case which has been referred to MARAC within 28 days of the off ence. This means that some high- risk cases, which do not meet that threshold, are being investigated by offi cers who have not had the level of specialist training and accreditation required to adequately investigate for such off ences.144 72 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection
West MiDLAnDs poLiCe FinDinG: inConsistent AssessMent oF VULnerABiLitY AnD risK oF DoMestiC ABUse ViCtiMs AnD VAriABLe stAnDArDs oF inVestiGAtion HMIC reported that West Midlands Police addresses vulnerability inconsistently at initial response and is not completing DASH risk assessments in all appropriate cases.145 Further, internal audits, to assess whether offi cers are conducting appropriate risk assessments, indicate that offi cers are not consistently completing a DASH form in circumstances where they are required to do so.146 This means that some victims of domestic abuse who may be at risk of harm are not being appropriately risk-assessed or safeguarded. Crimes committed against vulnerable victims are generally allocated to specialist offi cers within West Midlands Police public protection units (PPUs). The PPUs investigate domestic abuse, sexual off ences, child protection, and safeguarding vulnerable adults. HMIC reported that many investigations conducted by the PPU teams are thorough. However, this was not consistent and the standard of investigation in some domestic abuse cases varied, with investigative actions being overlooked.147 northUMBriA poLiCe FinDinG: VULnerABiLitY AnD sAFeGUArDinG A prioritY Of the fi ve police forces included in this review, Northumbria Police received the most positive assessment from HMIC at protecting those who are vulnerable to harm and supporting victims. HMIC concluded that vulnerability is a clear priority for Northumbria Police: the “force has moved from a performance framework which emphasised serious robbery, burglary and theft, to one which concentrates on vulnerability and safeguarding”148 and noting that it has compiled individual problem profi les on child sexual exploitation for each local authority area, compiled problem profi les on cyber-crime, sex workers and domestic abuse and is in the process of developing profi les on rape, missing persons and so-called ‘honour-based violence’.149 DASH risk assessments by offi cers attending domestic abuse cases are completed to a high standard and there are a number of checking procedures built into the process to ensure that each form is completed and assessed correctly.150 HMIC reported that Northumbria police response offi cers provide “excellent safeguarding to victims when they fi rst attend an incident, and have a good working knowledge of safeguarding tactics and they apply these when they attend domestic abuse and other incidents”.151 All reports are submitted to the Protecting Vulnerable People Team who undertake a further assessment and co-ordinate with other agencies. In serious cases such as rape, Northumbria Police has good use of risk-assessments, strong supervisory oversight and a good support service to vulnerable victims. 73 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection
MetropoLitAn poLiCe serViCe FinDinG: Mps response to DoMestiC ABUse ViCtiMs inADeQUAte HMIC reported that following its 2014 domestic abuse inspection, the MPS published a 60-point abuse action plan which is overseen by the strategic domestic abuse group. HMIC reported that overall, “the force’s response to domestic abuse victims varies and needs to improve.” HMIC was critical of the MPS both in relation to identifying vulnerability and completing risk assessment, reporting: + MPS does not understand how to identify the nature and scale of vulnerability. + MPS “is inadequate in its capacity and capability to protect those who are vulnerable from harm and support victims”.152 + MPS needs to improve its investigation of off ences involving vulnerable victims. + In 1 in 5 domestic abuse cases, risk assessments were not conducted. + The quality of risk assessments was variable and mistakes were not addressed by supervisors. + In the 12 months to 30 June 2016, the MPS use of a caution for adult off enders of domestic abuse was among the highest in England and Wales. + The specialist teams investigating off ences involving vulnerability and safeguarding work in isolation from the community safety units, negatively impacting the ability of the MPS to provide a consistent service. When risk assessments are not fully completed, this creates a very real likelihood that actions to safeguard high risk victims are missed and suggests that domestic abuse incidents are simply not given the priority or focus that is required to ensure the police meet their obligation to protect victims they know – or ought to know – to be at real and immediate risk of harm. 74 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection AppenDiX 4 DAtA on poLiCe reCorDeD CriMe AnD oUtCoMes BY poLiCe ForCe AreA 2016
nAtUre oF CriMes reCorDeD BY poLiCe AnD the oUtCoMes oF reCorDeD CriMes BY poLiCe ForCes ACross the stUDY AreA.
For the 12 months england MPS West South leicester- North- to 30 June 2016 & Wales london153 Midlands154 Yorkshire155 shire156 umbria157 % of crime recorded 14.3 10.0 29.9 12.9 4.1 19.0 which involves a vulnerable victim Domestic abuse as 11.1 10.3 10.5 8.6 10.9 11.4 a % of all recorded crime (excluding fraud) Domestic abuse calls 16 8 12 21 14 22 for assistance per 1000 population Crime outcomes: 47.4 50.8 56.1 53.6 50.2 43.5 % of all recorded off ences where investigation completed but no suspect identifi ed Crime outcomes: 12.1 10.6 14.2 11.6 9.1 17.4 % of all recorded off ences where off ender charged or summonsed oUtCoMes oF CriMes oF VAWG reCorDeD BY the Mps in 2016158 The MPS uses a 6+1 identity coding system to describe the ethnicity of a victim of crime for crime recording purposes. The categories are: (i) White - North European; (ii) White - South European; (iii) Black; (iv) South Asian; (v) Chinese, Japanese, or other Southeast Asian; (vi) North African or Arabic and (vii) Unknown. In the table, we have aggregated the data for categories (i) and (ii) and the data for categories (iii) – (vi) to enable a comparison of outcomes of crimes of violence against white women and BME women. 75 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection
oUtCoMes oF CriMes oF VAWG reCorDeD BY the Mps in 2016
Outcome Domestic abuse Non-domestic Total abuse no clear up recorded – 25,108 57,068 82,176 no detection & case closed White victim 13,354 28,579 41,933 BME victim 10,341 22,232 32,573 Unknown 1,413 6,257 7,670
Clear up recorded 12,078 9,163 21,241 White victim 7,374 5,481 12,855 BME victim 4,521 3,374 7,895 Unknown 183 308 491
Categorised as follows 1. Charge/summons 8,140 6,033 14,173 White victim 4,982 3,772 8,754 BME victim 3,036 2,042 5,078 Unknown 122 219 341
2. Caution 3,762 1,710 5,472 White victim 2,287 891 3,997 BME victim 1,416 774 2,190 Unknown 59 45 104
3. Community resolution 112 1,178 1,290 White victim 61 660 721 BME victim 49 477 526 Unknown 2 41 43
4. penalty notice 0 4 4 White victim 0 2 2 BME victim 0 2 2 Unknown 0 0 0
5. restorative Justice 0 18 18 White victim 0 14 14 BME victim 0 4 4 Unknown 0 0 0
6. Youth Cautions 64 220 284 White victim 44 142 186 BME victim 20 75 95 Unknown 0 3 3 total 37,186 66,231 103,417 76 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection enD notes
introDUCtion 1 Oﬃ ce of National Statistics, Compendium: Domestic abuse, sexual assault and stalking, ﬁ ndings from the March 2016 Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW). 2 Femicide Census data. The Femicide Census tracks and analyses the deaths of women killed by partners, ex-partners, male relatives, acquaintances, colleagues and strangers and was developed by nia and Women’s Aid. 3 UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences. Statement at the conclusion of a country mission to the United Kingdom 2014, 15 April 2014, available at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=14514& 4 Ravi Thiara & Samanta Roy, Imkaan, Vital Statistics, 2010. 5 Zohra Moosa with Jessica Woodroofe, Poverty Pathways: Ethnic minority women’s livelihoods, The Fawcett Society, June 2009. Poverty extends to two-thirds of Bangladeshi and Pakistani women. 6 Ravi Thiara & Samanta Roy, Imkaan, Vital Statistics, 2010. 7 J Jarvinen, A Kail, I Miller, Hard Knock Life, April 2008. The breakdown for the ﬁ gure estimates the cost of domestic violence at £20.1 billion and the costs of sexual violence (outside of domestic violence) at £21 billion which equates to a total of £41.1 billion. See Appendix 2 pp.116-120. 8 Sylvia Walby, The Cost of Domestic Violence: Update 2009, Lancaster University, 2009. 9 J Jarvinen, A Kail, I Miller, ibid. 10 J Jarvinen, A Kail, I Miller, ibid.
ChApter 1 11 United Nations Human Rights Oﬃ ce of the High Commissioner (Media), Domestic violence a form of “arbitrary execution,” says UN rights expert, United Nations, 7 June 2017. 12 United Nations Human Rights Oﬃ ce of the High Commissioner (Media), States must provide shelters as “survival tools” for women victims of violence, United Nations, 12 June 2017. 13 Anushka Asthana & Peter Walker, Tories pledge new law over domestic violence directed at children, Guardian, 28 May 2017. 14 The cross-government deﬁ nition of domestic violence and abuse is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners of family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to psychological, physical, sexual, ﬁ nancial and emotional abuse. Perpetrators of domestic violence are charged with the criminal oﬀ ence which best reﬂ ects the circumstances of the case, such as rape, grievous bodily harm, assault, harassment, threatening behaviour. 15 Prime Minister’s Oﬃ ce, 10 Downing Street, Prime Minister’s plans to transform the way we tackle domestic violence and abuse, UK Government, 17 February 2017, accessed via www.gov.uk 16 Ibid. 17 Rowena Mason, Theresa May: I want to transform how we think about domestic violence, Guardian, 17 February 2017. 18 Polly Neate, Women’s Aid responds to the Queen’s Speech, Women’s Aid, 21 June 2017, accessed via https://www.womensaid.org.uk/ womens-aid-respond-queens-speech/ 19 Ministerial Forward by the Minister for Preventing Abuse, Exploitation and Crime, Violence against Women and Girls Strategy 2016-2020, Home Oﬃ ce, March 2016. 20 Executive Summary, Violence against Women and Girls Strategy 2016-2020, Home Oﬃ ce, March 2016. 21 CEDAW Articles 2 and 3 and CEDAW General Recommendations No. 19 (1992) and No.35 (2017). 22 CEDAW Articles 2(e), 2(f) and Article 5 and CEDAW General Recommendation No. 19 (1992) and No.35 (2017). 23 Osman v. UK, (87/1997/871/1083) [GC] 28 October 1998, para.116. 24 A v. UK, App. no. 3455/05, 19 February 2009. 25 X and Y v. the Netherlands, App. No. 8978/80 (1985) 8 EHRR 235. 26 See X and Y v. the Netherlands; Sandra Janković v Croatia, App. No. 38478/05, 5 March 2009. 27 Z and Others v. UK, [GC] Application No. 29392/95, 10 May 2001, para. 73. See also A. v. UK, [GC] App. No. 3455/05, 19 February 2009. 28 See M C v. Bulgaria (2005) 40 EHRR 20. 29 Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is deﬁ ned as protecting children from maltreatment; preventing impairment of children’s health or development; ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and eﬀ ective care; and taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes: HMG, Statutory guidance on inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, March 2015 (HMG Guidance on Safeguarding Children), p.5. 30 Children Act 1989, ss 17 and 47. 31 Children Act 1989, ss 11. 32 Children Act 1989, ss 10. 33 Department of Health Guidance updated 19 April 2017, Care Act Factsheets, Factsheet 7: Protecting adults from abuse or neglect, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/care-act-2014-part-1-factsheets/care-act-factsheets 34 The Act deﬁ nes a set of legal principles that govern how local authorities are to deliver care and support: Care Act 2014 Part 1. The overarching principle is the general duty to promote the well-being of the adult, which means an individual’s well-being so far as it relates to any of the following personal dignity (including treatment of the individual with respect); physical and mental health and emotional well-being; protection from abuse and neglect; control by the individual over day-to-day life (including over care and support, or support, provided to the individual and the way in which it is provided); participation in work, education, training or recreation; social and economic well-being; domestic, family and personal relationships; suitability of living accommodation; and the individual’s contribution to society: Care Act 2014, s.1(2). 35 Care Act 2014, s.2(1). 36 Care Act 2014, s.43(1). 37 Care Act 2014, s.42(1). 38 In particular, ECHR Article 2 (right to life), Article 3 (prohibition against torture, inhuman or degrading treatment), Article 8 (right to respect of private life) and Article 14 (prohibition against discrimination). 39 The Victims’ Code was revised by the Ministry of Justice in October 2015 under section 32 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 and the new Code came into eﬀ ect on 16 November 2015. The Code seeks to implement relevant provisions of the EU Directive 2012/29/EU establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime; Directive 2011/92/EU combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children; and Directive 2011/36/EU preventing and combating the traﬃ cking of human beings. 40 Close relatives of a deceased victim are entitled to receive services as “victims of the most serious crime” and victims who have a disability or who have been so badly injured as a result of criminal conduct that they are unable to communicate are entitled to nominate a family spokesperson to act as the single point of contact to receive services under the Victims’ Code. 41 That is, victims of domestic violence, hate crime, terrorism, sexual oﬀ ences, human traﬃ cking, attempted murder, kidnap, false imprisonment, arson with intent to endanger life and wounding or causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent. 42 Enhanced service refers to the time within which an entitlement is provided to the victim - i.e. within one working day rather than ﬁ ve working days. 43 Victim’s Code, Chapter 2, Part B, Section 1, para.s 1.1-1.6. 77 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection
ChApter 2 44 All data from 2011 Census: Ethnic group, local authorities in England and Wales, Oﬃ ce of National Statistics (2012). ChApter 3 45 Imkaan, Capital Losses: The state of the specialist BME ending violence against women and girls sector in London, 2016. 46 Marai Larasi with Dorett Jones, Tallawah: a brieﬁ ng paper on black and ‘minority ethnic’ women and girls organizing to end violence against us, Imkaan, 2017. 47 Chart 1 is derived by comparing service data collected by a typical woman-led BME support provider in North East England versus national victim statistics provided by Safe Lives in a service report commissioned by the service provider for the 12 months to October 2016. 48 Data from BME women service providers on the basis of case histories. 49 Source of data as per Chart 2. 50 Joseph Rowntree Foundation monitors poverty and social exclusion and deﬁ nes a household to be in ‘income poverty’ if its income is less than 60% of the contemporary GB median household income. Income poverty rates. 51 Guy Palmer & Peter Kenway, Poverty among ethnic groups: How and why does it di er? Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2007. 52 Zohra Moosa with Jessica Woodroﬀ e, Poverty pathways: Ethnic minority women livelihoods, The Fawcett Society, June 2009. 53 Women’s Budget Group, New research shows that poverty, ethnicity and gender magnify the impact of austerity on BME women, 28 November 2016. 54 As an example of how signiﬁ cant this issue is for BME VAW service providers, in one month alone in 2017, a BME VAW service provider was providing support and refuge spaces to 22 non-British victims of violence out of a total of 28 women. 55 Ravi K Thiara & Sumanta Roy, Vital Statistics: The experience of BMER women and children facing violence and abuse, Imkaan, 2010. 56 Marai Larasi with Dorett Jones, Tallawah: a brieﬁ ng paper on black and ‘minority ethnic’ women and girls organizing to end violence against us, Imkaan, 2017. 57 100% of BME women said the key factor for them having conﬁ dence to enter the criminal justice system at all is because of support provided by a BME women’s organisation. Ravi Thiara & Samanta Roy, Imkaan, Vital Statistics II, 2012. ChApter 4 58 For further details of the governance structure and responsibilities of local authorities, refer to Appendix 2. 59 Via the 2016 Act, the Secretary of State may decide to establish a combined authority, if the councils in the relevant area consent, and an existing combined authority may be changed into a mayoral combined authority via an Order from the Secretary of State. Six combined authorities have held mayoral elections in May 2017 (Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, Cambridgeshire/ Peterborough, West Midlands, West of England, Tees Valley) and a further election in the Sheﬃ eld City Region is proposed in May 2018. These authorities have the ability to undertake functions related to economic development, regeneration, transport and some other statutory functions. 60 VAW services include helplines, refuges or sheltered housing, counseling and recuperative support services, legal advice, access to police and health services, outreach services (to local communities, schools etc.) and youth services, outreach and awareness raising. 61 Evidence presented in Women’s Aid 2014 Report, SOS: Save refuges, save lives - Women’s Aid data report on specialist domestic violence services in England shows that from April-July 2014, three local authorities issued tenders that included ‘local connection’ rules, whereby 70-80% of refuge spaces commissioned by the council had to be for women and children from the local area. 62 UN Special Rapporteur on VAW, Special Rapporteur on violence against women ﬁ nalizes country mission to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland and calls for urgent action to address the accountability deﬁ cit and also the adverse impacts of changes in funding and services, UN Oﬃ ce of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, April 2014. 63 Figures relate to central Government funding provided in the form of an annual grant from the Department of Communities and Local Government to local authorities. Other sources of local authority income include Council Tax, Business Rates, income from services and other grants. 64 National Audit Oﬃ ce, The impact of funding reductions on local authorities, November 2014. 65 David Phillips, Local government and the nations: a devolution revolution? Institute For Fiscal Studies, 26 October 2016. 66 Ibid. 67 Funding cuts were not uniform and hit most severely local authorities that received the largest share of their funding from government grants. They saw a reduction in spending of up to 40%. 68 Funding pressures have only exacerbated what was already a low supply of services. In their 2009 report, Map of Gaps 2, authors Maddy Coy, Liz Kelly and Jo Foord described the uneven distribution of VAW service provision across the UK as a ‘postcode lottery’ and highlighted that 1 in 4 local authorities had no specialist support services for women who experienced violence, and 9 out of 10 had no specialised service for BME women. These statistics have barely improved. 69 Jude Towers & Sylvia Walby, Measuring the impact of cuts in public expenditure on the provision of services to prevent violence against women and girls, January 2012. 70 Women’s Aid, SOS: Save refuges, save lives: Women’s Aid data report on specialist domestic violence services in England, September 2014. 71 Prof. Liz Kelly & Lorna Dubois, Combating violence against women: minimum standards for support services, Directorate of Human Rights & Legal Aﬀ airs, Council of Europe, September 2008. 72 Imkaan, State of the sector, November 2015. 73 Katy Taylor, Women’s Aid, A Growing Crisis of Unmet Need, 2013 quoting Imkaan Member Survey 2011-12. 74 Imkaan, State of the sector, November 2015. 75 Imkaan, Capital Losses: The state of the specialist BME ending violence against women and girls sector in London, 2016. Of 733 BME women seeking a refuge space, only 154 were successful. 76 Mrs Z Ahmed v. Rotherham Rise, Sheﬃ eld Employment Tribunal, Case No. 1800421/2016, August 2016. 77 In its VAW Strategy 2016-20, the Government pledged to provide £80 million of dedicated funding for VAW prevention over the four year spending review period. An uplift of £20 million for domestic violence charities was announced by the Chancellor in the March 2017 budget, taking this total to £100 million. 78 By way of comparison, the Government spends £289 million per year in advertising and over £100 million on the operations and expenses for the House of Lords. 79 As discussed previous, VAW in England and Wales is estimated to cose £40.1 billion a year. J Jarvinen, A Kail, I Miller, ibid. 80 There are additional small amounts of funding for initiatives to combat forced marriage and female genital mutilation but their budget holder is unclear so they are not included in Chart 2. There is also funding for traﬃ cking in persons (which includes traﬃ cking for sexual exploitation and domestic slavery) but as this category is much broader than VAW it is also not included. 81 Imkaan, Good Practice Brieﬁ ng: Uncivil partnerships? Reﬂ ections on collaborative working in the ending violence against women and girls sector, Imkaan and Ascent, 2017. 82 The NSE deﬁ nes specialist provision to include outreach, drop-in support, resettlement, counselling, advocacy, group work, IDVAs, ISVAs, refuge accommodation and specialist, dedicated BME-led women’s services (p2). 83 Equality Act 2012, s.149. 84 The relevant protected characteristics are age; disability; gender reassignment; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation. 85 Select Committee Report Equalities analysis and the 2015 Spending Review and Autumn Statement, accessed via https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmwomeq/825/82504.htm 78 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection
86 Department of Health, Guidance, Care Act Factsheets, Factsheet 2: Who is entitled to public care and support, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/care-act-2014-part-1-factsheets/care-act-factsheets (Department of Health Care Act Factsheet 2). 87 Care Act 2014, s.5(1). 88 Care Act 2014, s.5(2)(b). 89 Care Act 2015, s.5 and Department of Health, Guidance, Care Act Factsheets, Factsheet 1: General responsibilities of local authorities: prevention, information and advice, and shaping the market of care and support services, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/care-act-2014-part-1-factsheets/care-act-factsheets. 90 Department of Health Care Act Factsheet 2. ChApter 5 91 HMIC changes its name to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Service in July 2017. 92 HMIC, Everyone’s business: Improving the police response to domestic abuse, March 2014. 93 HMIC, Increasingly everyone’s business: A progress report on the police response to domestic abuse, December 2015. 94 HMIC National Review 2017, p.81. 95 The risk assessment process, MARAC procedures (including referral) and standards for operating MARAC meetings have been developed by Coordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse (CAADA), a national organisation supported by the Home Oﬃ ce. CAADA recently changed its name to Safe Lives. 96 There are four aims of MARAC: (i) safeguard adult victims; (ii) establish links with other public protection arrangements in relation to children, perpetrators and vulnerable adults; (iii) safeguard agency staﬀ ; and (iv) address the behaviour of the perpetrator: CAADA MARAC Representative’s Toolkit 2009, p.2. 97 Established under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (CJA 2003), MAPPA is designed to protect the public from serious harm by sexual and violent oﬀ enders. This is a statutory set of arrangements was established under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 across the 42 criminal justice areas in England and Wales. Police, Prison and Probation Trusts are the joint Responsible Authority under the Act and together have the statutory duty to assess and manage the risk posed by sexual and violent oﬀ enders in their criminal justice area. Other agencies have a duty to co-operate with the Responsible Authority in this task. 98 Safe Lives website at http://www.safelives.org.uk/policy-evidence/helping-high-risk-victims-fast 99 HMIC Report on West Midlands Police March 2017, p.48. 100 Oﬃ ce of National Statistics, Statistical Bulletin, Domestic abuse in England and Wales: year ending March 2016, 8 December 2016 (ONS Domestic Abuse Statistical Bulletin 2016) available here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/ bulletins/domesticabuseinenglandandwales/yearendingmarch2016#main-points 101 HMIC National Review 2017, p.18. 102 HMIC National Review 2017, p.19. 103 HMIC Report on South yorkshire Police March 2017, p.40. 104 HMIC National Review 2017, p.86. 105 HMIC, Increasingly everyone’s business: A progress report on the police response to domestic abuse, December 2015, p.58. 106 DVPNs and DVPOs were introduced under sections 24-33 of the Crime and Security Act 2010 which came into force across England and Wales on 8 March 2014 following a one year pilot in three areas – West Mercia Police, Wiltshire Police and Greater Manchester Police. 107 HMIC, PEEL Police eﬀ ectiveness 2016. An inspection of Northumbria Police, March 2017 (HMIC Report on Northumbria March 2017). 108 HMIC, PEEL Police eﬀ ectiveness 2016. An inspection of the West Midlands Police, March 2017 (HMIC Report on West Midlands Police March 2017). 109 Section 76 came into force on 29 December 2015. The criteria for the oﬀ ence of controlling and coercive behaviour is as follows: (a) the controlling or coercive behaviour must take place “repeatedly”; (b) the pattern of behaviour has to have a “serious eﬀ ect” on the victim; (c) the behaviour must be such that the perpetrator knows or ought to know that it will have a serious eﬀ ect on the victim; and (d) the perpetrator and the victim must be personally connected when the incidents took place – past or present intimate personal relationship (whether living together or not) or lived/living together as family members: Home Oﬃ ce, Controlling or Coercive Behaviour in an Intimate or Family Relationship. Statutory Guidance Framework, December 2015 (Home Oﬃ ce Guidance). 110 MPS data provided to SFC pursuant to information request June 2017. 111 MPS data provided to SFC pursuant to information request June 2017. ChApter 6 112 The term homicide covers the oﬀ ences of murder, manslaughter and infanticide. 113 DHRs were established in April 2009 under section 9 of the Domestic Violence Crime and Adults Act 2004. There has been a statutory requirement for local areas to conduct a DHR following a domestic homicide that meets this criteria since April 2011. 114 The Home Oﬃ ce sampled 40 DHRs from a total of 195 DHRs quality assured by the Home Oﬃ ce between January 2013 and March 2016. 115 To remedy this defect, the Home Oﬃ ce has issued revised statutory guidance inviting authors of DHRs to record key information related to the victim and perpetrator: Home Oﬃ ce, Domestic Homicide reviews, Key ﬁ ndings from analysis of domestic homicide reviews, December 2016 (Home Oﬃ ce DHR Report), p.6, para.16. 116 Home Oﬃ ce, Domestic Homicide reviews, Key ﬁ ndings from analysis of domestic homicide reviews, December 2016 (Home Oﬃ ce DHR Report), pp.15-16. 117 Home Oﬃ ce DHR Report, pp.13-14. 118 Home Oﬃ ce DHR Report, p.17. 119 Children Act 2004, s.10 places a duty on the local authority and its strategic partners, including health and police, to secure the welfare of children. 120 SFC is grateful to Rosie Bacon, Anti-Traﬃ cking Advocate who has extensive experience working with female survivors of traﬃ cking, conducting assessments of survivors’ traﬃ cking experience and referrals into the NRM, completing expert reports to inform Conclusive Grounds decisions for her expert contribution to this section of the report. 121 The Council of Europe Convention for Action Against Traﬃ cking in Human Beings 2005 requires member states to protect the human rights of the survivors of traﬃ cking, design a comprehensive framework for the protection and assistance of survivors and witnesses and eﬀ ective investigation and prosecution, while guaranteeing gender equality. 122 In 2015, POPPy Project data reported a diﬀ erence of approximately 60% positive CG decisions for EEA nationals compared with less than 40% of non-EEA nationals. 123 Home Oﬃ ce, Victims of Modern Slavery Competent Authority Guidance, Version 3.0 (2016 ) available at: https://www.gov.uk/ government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/ﬁ le/521763/Victims_of_modern_slavery_-_Competent_Authority_ guidance_v3_0.pdf (Home Oﬃ ce Modern Slavery Guidance 2016) 124 Human Traﬃ cking Foundation, Supporting Adult Survivors of Slavery to Facilitate Recovery and Reintegration and prevent Re- exploitation, 2017, available at: http://www.humantraﬃ ckingfoundation.org/sites/default/ﬁ les/Long%20term%20survivor%20 support%20needs%20March%2017%202.pdf 125 Home Oﬃ ce Modern Slavery Guidance 2016. 126 Home Oﬃ ce, Duty to Notify the Home Oﬃ ce of Potential Victims of Modern Slavery, 2016, available at: https://www.gov.uk/ government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/ﬁ le/508817/Duty_to_Notify_Guidance__Version_2.0_.pdf 81 SISTERS FOR CHANGE_BME WOMEN IN ENGlAND Unequal regard, unequal protection
127 Anne Neale & Nina Lopez, Legal Action for Women, Su er the little children and their mothers, A dossier on the unjust separation of children from their mothers, January 2017 (Legal Action for Women Report 2017). 128 The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) was established as part of the 2001 Criminal Justice & Court Services Act. CAFCASS is involved in any court case where parents are in dispute with each other and is tasked by the court to assess whether there are any safety issues in relation to the children. CAFCASS is often the only “expert” to give evidence in family court proceedings, with the result that judges invariably accept its recommendations and its views are unlikely to be challenged by other professionals. 129 Women’s Aid, Nineteen Child Homicides, 2016. 130 Legal Action for Women Report 2017, p.27. 131 Using the national CAADA (now Safer Lives) DASH Risk Assessment tool. 132 SFC Interviews with MPS Newham Borough, 2 March 2017; Leicestershire Police, 7 March 2017; South yorkshire Police, 10 March 2017; and West Midlands Police, 16 March 2017. 133 In its interpretation of ‘slavery’ under ECHR Article 4, the European Court of Human Rights refers to the classic deﬁ nition of slavery under the 1926 Slavery Convention, which deﬁ nes slavery as “the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised”: Siliadin v France, App. No. 73316/01, 26 October 2005, para. 122. 134 The term talaq is commonly translated as “repudiation” or “divorce”. In classical Islamic law it refers to the husband’s right to dissolve the marriage by simply announcing to his wife three times that he repudiates her. It does not require justiﬁ cation or court approval. ChApter 7 135 England and Northern Ireland are in fact lagging behind in terms of DV legislation. Wales enacted a Domestic Violence Act in 2015 and Scotland introduced a DV Bill in March 2017. 136 Local Government Authority, LGA responds to draft Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill, published online on 21 June 2017 and accessed via https://www.local.gov.uk/about/news/queens-speech-lga-responds-draft-domestic-violence-and-abuse-bill AppenDiX 3 137 HMIC Report on Leicestershire Police March 2017, p.37. 138 HMIC Report on Leicestershire Police March 2017, p.39. 139 HMIC Report on Leicestershire Police March 2017, pp.43-44. 140 HMIC Report on South yorkshire Police March 2017, p.36. 141 HMIC Report on South yorkshire Police March 2017, p.39. 142 HMIC Report on South yorkshire Police March 2017, p.40. 143 HMIC Report on South yorkshire Police March 2017, p.47. 144 HMIC Report on South yorkshire Police March 2017, p.45. 145 HMIC Report on West Midlands Police March 2017, p.42. 146 HMIC Report on West Midlands Police March 2017, p.43. 147 HMIC Report on West Midlands Police March 2017, p.44. 148 HMIC Report on Northumbria Police March 2017, p.34. 149 HMIC Report on Northumbria Police March 2017, p.34. 150 HMIC Report on Northumbria Police March 2017, p.38. 151 HMIC Report on Northumbria Police March 2017, p.39. 152 HMIC Report on MPS March 2017, p.48. AppenDiX 4 153 All ﬁ gures sourced from HMIC, PEEL Police eﬀ ectiveness 2016. An inspection of the Metropolitan Police Service, March 2017 (HMIC Report on MPS March 2017). 154 All ﬁ gures sourced from HMIC, PEEL Police eﬀ ectiveness 2016. An inspection of West Midlands, March 2017 (HMIC Report on West Midlands Police March 2017). 155 All ﬁ gures sourced from HMIC, PEEL Police eﬀ ectiveness 2016. An inspection of South yorkshire, March 2017 (HMIC Report on South yorkshire Police March 2017). 156 All ﬁ gures sourced from HMIC, PEEL Police eﬀ ectiveness 2016. An inspection of Leicestershire, March 2017 (HMIC Report on Leicestershire Police March 2017). 157 All ﬁ gures sourced from HMIC, PEEL Police eﬀ ectiveness 2016. An inspection of Northumbria, March 2017 (HMIC Report on Northumbria Police March 2017). 158 MPS data provided to SFC pursuant to information request June 2017. Design by [email protected] Design by www.sistersforchange.org.uk @sisters_4change [email protected]
MAKinG JUstiCe WorK For WoMen