Commenting on the appointment of Sir Mark Rowley QPM as the next Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Niki Scordi, CEO of Advance, said:, Niki Scordi, CEO of Advance, said:
“We welcome Sir Mark Rowley as the new Met Commissioner – it is no secret that there is a huge job to do when it comes to improving the force’s response to VAWG, not just in our streets but, crucially, in our homes.
“As with the rest of the country, domestic abuse remains appallingly high in the capital. Last year more than 97,000 domestic abuse incidents were reported to the Met. 25 people were killed due to domestic abuse in London – a 13.6% increase on the previous year. Overall, domestic abuse prosecution and conviction rates continue to fall across London – prosecutions fell by 8.47% in 2021 compared to 2020, with convictions falling by almost a tenth (9.88%). With one in four women in England and Wales experiencing domestic abuse at some point in her life, millions of women and girls continue to suffer violence and abuse with no access to vital life-saving support. Women and girls are too often silenced and not believed, with three survivors dying by suicide every week.
“While more women than ever are reporting to the police, it still falls far below the level that it should be, and we are not seeing a rise in perpetrators being held to account by the criminal justice system. We now need concrete action to tackle this critical gap in public protection. This must include the new Commissioner prioritising domestic abuse and leading sustained action to improve Met policing culture, as the Mayor of London’s new VAWG strategy makes clear should happen with immediacy.
“Advance has seen a huge increase in complexity and need of the women entering our services, requiring significant additional resource to ensure women are supported to live safe, fulfilling lives. We now need to see an increase in investment from the Met not only to drive reporting of domestic abuse, but also to ensure thorough investigations are completed. We must see a move away from placing the burden on survivors and instead focus on evidence-led prosecutions. Only then can we hope to see trust between survivors and the police improve.
“Finally – Advance knows better than most how women’s experience of domestic abuse can lead directly to their criminalisation. We have seen women coerced into committing crimes by their abusers, with little recognition by the police of how the dynamics of domestic abuse can impact women’s actions. We know that diverting women into women’s centres with specialist support in the community, rather than criminalising them and placing them in custody, is a much more effective route to tackling the root causes of these behaviours – trauma and abuse.
“We look forward to working with the Commissioner to improve trust and criminal justice outcomes in the Met.”
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- Advance’s vision is a world in which women and children lead safe, equal, violence-free lives so that they can flourish and actively contribute to society. The charity works with women who experience domestic abuse to be safe and take control of their lives, and women who have committed crime or are at risk of offending to break the cycle.
- As well as providing direct support, Advance works with statutory services, government agencies and other women’s charities to ensure a holistic approach to the issues these women face.
- Women must be referred to Advance, via statutory services or the charity’s self-referral scheme. For more information about who Advance is able to support, please visit Contact us
- For facts and statistics about domestic abuse and women in the criminal justice system, as well as Advance’s work, please visit our Research page
- To read more about Advance’s criminal justice diversion work, please see London Women’s Diversion Service report