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The year of targeted action: Strengthening protections for women

The year of targeted action: Strengthening protections for women


Tougher sentences for domestic killers and targeted reforms mark a year of progress since the Wade Review

In the wake of Clare Wade KC's pivotal review on domestic homicide sentencing, the British government has embarked on a determined path to enhance protections for women. The findings of the review underscored alarming statistics, revealing that in 90% of intimate partner murders, women are the victims. Moreover, over half of the cases reviewed involved coercive or controlling behaviour, shedding light on the insidious nature of these crimes.

Responding to these stark realities, the government swiftly moved to implement key recommendations outlined in the Wade Review. Measures include the introduction of new statutory aggravating factors for murders preceded by controlling behaviour and excessive violence, with a commitment to tougher sentences for perpetrators. These actions are aimed at sending a clear message: violence against women will not be tolerated, and perpetrators will face severe consequences for their actions.

Additionally, the Sentencing Council has announced updates to manslaughter sentencing guidelines, incorporating aggravating factors for strangulation and suffocation, as well as coercive or controlling behaviour. This marks a significant step towards ensuring consistency and fairness in sentencing across different offenses.

Minister for Sentencing, Gareth Bacon, emphasised the government's unwavering commitment to protecting women from domestic violence. While acknowledging the progress made, he stressed the ongoing need for vigilance and evaluation to keep dangerous offenders off the streets.

Beyond legislative changes, the government has invested substantially in addressing domestic abuse, allocating millions of pounds towards victim support, perpetrator intervention, and strengthening preventative measures. Initiatives such as the Domestic Homicide Library and enhanced training for Crown Prosecution Service personnel reflect a comprehensive approach to tackling this societal scourge.

Looking ahead, the government remains focused on further reforms, including a review of murder defences in cases of domestic homicide. Public consultation and stakeholder engagement continue to inform policy decisions, ensuring that the voices of survivors and advocates are heard.

As the nation reflects on a year of targeted action, there is a sense of progress tempered by the recognition of the challenges that lie ahead. Yet, with determination and collective effort, the goal of a safer, more just society for women is within reach.