Generations of women who face violence and abuse have been failed, it’s time we changed that - Yvette Cooper

My great, great grandmother was attacked by her husband.First when she was pregnant. The report says he struck and kicked her so she could not sit or lie in bed. Then he attacked her with a poker. In front of her daughter.

The case went to court. The magistrates bound him over to keep the peace. But you know the most shocking thing about that story? That is more protection from the police and courts than many domestic abuse victims get today. And it was over 100 years ago.

We cannot stand by and let our daughters face the same abuse as our grandmothers. This has to change.

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You know we’ve talked about change for years, but I am sick and tired of women who face abuse and violence being failed – generation after generation. Sick and tired of the most serious perpetrators getting away with it. Sick and tired of women still feeling worried on the streets, saying to friends “text me when you get home”. When the first women’s safety march in Leeds was nearly 50 years ago. Enough is enough, we will not stand for this any more. The next Labour Government will put rape investigation units in every force, domestic abuse experts in every 999 call centre.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper speaking during the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool. PIC: Peter Byrne/PA WireShadow home secretary Yvette Cooper speaking during the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool. PIC: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper speaking during the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool. PIC: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

We will require police forces to use tactics normally reserved for organised crime or terrorist investigations. To identify and go after the most dangerous repeat abusers and rapists and get them off our streets.

Know this. If you abuse and hurt women, under a Labour Government the police will be after you, because everyone has the right to live in freedom from fear.

And who better to lead the fight against crime than someone who spent years pursuing criminals and terrorists and standing up for victims – the person we pledge to make the next Labour Prime Minister, Keir Starmer.

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We’ve had five Tory Prime Ministers in seven years – and seven Tory Home Secretaries. Suella Braverman is literally the only person who could make you want to bring back Priti Patel.

Labour believes security is the first duty of any Government. Security is the bedrock of opportunity. Families don’t thrive if they don’t feel safe.

Security means knowing someone will be there for you if things go wrong, that laws will be respected and enforced. And it means strong communities – where people pull together instead of turning on each other. Because when communities fracture, antisocial behaviour grows and organised crime and extremists step in.

But instead of standing up for security, the Tories have done the opposite. That feeling we have that nothing works and everything is broken.

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A brittle Britain, where we face the future with foreboding. They have taken a wrecking ball to the criminal justice system, so 90 per cent of crimes now go unsolved. More criminals let off. More victims let down.

Criminals today are less than half as likely to be caught as they were under the last Labour Government. That is the scale of the collapse in law and order under this Tory Government.

Criminals laugh at the law, communities pay the price.

This isn’t an accident. It is the result of deliberate Tory choice.

An abridged version of a speech delivered by Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper at the Labour Party Conference.