Government ‘is failing victims of domestic violence’

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Labour will today accuse the Government of “turning their backs on victims” of domestic violence after figures showed increasing numbers of perpetrators were getting away without a criminal record.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, the MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, will renew a pledge to ban the use of “slap-on-the-wrist” community resolutions in domestic and sexual violence cases.

Data from 15 police forces compiled by the Opposition show that there were 3,305 such uses last year – up from 1,337 in 2009.

Advice from the Association of Chief Police Officers advice suggests the punishment is suitable only for crimes such as minor criminal damage, low value theft and anti-social behaviour.

In the first of a string of speeches by shadow cabinet members aimed to highlight key differences between Labour and Conservative policies, Ms Cooper will accused Home Secretary Theresa May of failing to act on promises to address the issue.

“For the police to simply take a violent abuser home to apologise risks making domestic violence worse and makes it even harder for victims to escape a cycle of abuse.

“Labour has called on the Government previously to prevent the use of community resolutions for serious crimes, including domestic violence. Today’s figures reveal that nothing has been done.

“A Labour government will introduce a Violence Against Women and Girls Bill to place women’s safety at the heart of our legislative programme.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said a review had already been conducted into the inappropriate use of out-of-court settlements and all forces had been instructed to produce a domestic violence action plan. “No government has done more to tackle the abhorrent crime of domestic abuse than this government,” she said.