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Police chiefs must treat violence against women and girls the same as terrorism, the Government declared last night. The Home Office has declared abuse towards women a “national threat” and warned thugs yet to be convicted will be identified and stopped, under new plans. Dangerous men will be made to wear GPS tags and barred from going within a certain distance of their victim’s home. One in five killings are linked to domestic abuse, the Home Office said. Around 2.4 million people were victims last year.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman told the Daily Express “life can become a tormenting existence where those closest to them become those most feared.”
Ms Braverman, in declaring violence against women and girls a national threat, means police forces will have to treat it on a par with terrorism, serious and organised crime and child sexual abuse.
Controlling or coercive behaviour will also be put on a par with physical violence.
And the law will be changed so the police, prison and probation services have to jointly manage domestic abusers who have been convicted of making womens’ lives a misery.
This will include thugs who receive suspended sentences.
The Home Office will also develop a new digital tool to help police identify likely perpetrators, even those without convictions.
The algorithm will try and “predict when domestic abusers are going to commit serious harm”, sources say.
Officials said “in the year ending March 2022 there were 910,980 domestic abuse-related crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales, compared to 40,647 convictions.”
Offenders sentenced to a year or more for controlling and coercive behaviour will be forced to sign the Violent and Sex Offender Register.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “No woman or girl should ever have to feel unsafe in her home or community and I am determined to stamp out these appalling crimes.
“The Ask for Ani scheme provides a lifeline for anyone suffering from domestic abuse and we will continue to expand the scheme so that more people can access it, including piloting this service in the first Jobcentres.
“As well as extra support for victims, we’re making it a priority for the police to tackle violence against women and girls and toughening up the way offenders are managed – preventing more of these crimes from happening in the first place, and bringing more perpetrators to justice.”
Police chiefs have been told they “must proactively identify the most dangerous domestic abusers in their area to prevent them from committing further crimes.”
The Ask for Ani codeword scheme – which allows those at risk or suffering from abuse to discreetly signal they need help – will now be piloted in Jobcentre offices across the UK.
It was launched initially in 2021 in pharmacies, with emergency support accessed on average once a week since then.
Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, said: “The wide-ranging measures announced today will mean the most dangerous offenders will be watched more closely and added to the Violent and Sex Offender Register.
“Also, police forces in England and Wales will now have to treat violence against women and girls as a national threat and more victims will be protected from harm.”
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Domestic Abuse, Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe, said: “Adding violence against women and girls to the Strategic Policing Requirement, puts it on the same level of priority at terrorism and child abuse, where we believe it belongs.
“All forces are already prioritising VAWG and we welcome this prioritisation from the Government.
“Domestic abuse is a complex and entrenched societal problem and requires a multi-agency approach.
“Providing support for victims and their families and to introduce effective and sustainable solutions for perpetrators is vital.
“We will work together with the Home Office to ensure the measures announced today can aid policing and the criminal justice system in their fight to tackle domestic abuse.”
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