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Thursday, 10 August 2017

'Alarming' increase in domestic abuse leads to call for Register to protect victims

Written by Helen William

Domestic abusers should be put on a register as part of a "vital step change" to protect survivors, according to a new report.

London Assembly Labour group leader Len Duvall believes a register like the one imposed on sex offenders is needed as "reoffending remains too high" in a society where domestic abuse accounts for almost one in 10 offences in the capital.

He spoke of an "alarming" increase of domestic abuse despite recent legal crackdowns to try to tackle the offence, as he launched a report called Domestic Abuse In London.

Offences relating to domestic abuse in London have risen from 62,546 in 2014 to 71,926 in 2016, equating to a 15% increase.

With estimates that four in 10 survivors of domestic abuse are repeat victims, the report calls on the Government to introduce a register to allow the police to hold information on perpetrators and better protect survivors.

Offenders would need to give police their personal details and to update them with any changes.

Domestic violence protection orders were among a raft of measures which were introduced in 2014. They ban domestic abusers from returning to a residence and having contact with the victim for 28 days.

Current measures also include criminal behaviour orders, which in addition to restraining orders can also be used to prevent people from contacting or approaching their victims.

There is also the domestic violence disclosure scheme, which is also known as Clare's Law.

It was named after victim Clare Wood, 36, who was murdered in 2009 by an ex-boyfriend who had a history of violence against women.

The scheme lets people find out from police if their partner has a history of domestic violence and is intended to provide information that could protect someone from being a victim of attack.

The Metropolitan Police is also trying to tackle domestic abuse through a drive called Operation Dauntless+ which involves the tracking of over 400 serial cross-border domestic abuse offenders.

Mr Duvall said: "We're seeing domestic abuse increase at an alarming rate and we need to get serious about how we protect people from these vile acts.

"I recognise that the Government have improved the law to allow for tougher action against abusers, but the provision is too patchy and reoffending remains too high.

"It's time to get tough. We need to send a clear message to anyone committing domestic abuse that the police have them on their radar. A register of domestic abusers could provide a vital step change in the way we prevent reoffending and protect Londoners from these devastating crimes."

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