With domestic abuse charities reporting a spike in the number of calls nationally, the Member of Parliament for Ynys Môn will be fighting for victims, as a ground-breaking piece of legislation is being scrutinised by her and fellow MPs at the Committee Stage
“My constituency of Ynys Môn is an example of where businesses and charities are working together to help the vulnerable,” said Virginia Crosbie, MP, who is working closely with the police and the Gorwel Domestic Violence charity. Fears that the lockdown could result in an increase in domestic abuse led the UK Government to boost funding for services by £76 million.
“An astonishing 2.4 million people in England and Wales have suffered domestic abuse,” said Home Secretary Priti Patel. “That is unacceptable, and the reason why it is so important to shine a light on this crime.”
Out of the over 2 million victims recorded, two thirds are women, with an age range of 16 to 74. More than one in ten of all offences recorded by the police are domestic abuse related.
“Domestic abuse is a priority for North Wales Police,” said Ynys Môn Inspector Llinos Davies. “This is one of the most prevalent crimes within our communities here on Ynys Môn. In conjunction with our partners, the team remains committed to protecting victims by providing the best service possible to those that suffer domestic abuse, and to bringing offenders to justice.”
The Domestic Abuse Bill, which will apply in Wales, has the ‘potential to create a step-change’, according to the Women’s Aid charity. Currently at the half-way discussion stage in Westminster, the Bill will create a legal definition of the crime. After the Committee hears oral evidence and looks at the wording in detail, the report stage and third reading will complete the process in the House of Commons.
“The Domestic Abuse Bill is a monumental step to empower victims and survivors, provide protection and tackle perpetrators at the earliest stage,” said the Home Secretary.
Victoria Atkins, MP, is the UK Minister for Safeguarding. “Domestic abuse is an abhorrent crime perpetrated on victims and their families by those who should love and care for them,” she said. “This landmark Bill will help transform the response to domestic abuse, helping to prevent offending, protect victims and ensure they have the support they need.”
The Bill will provide clarity about the way that domestic abuse can be financial, verbal and emotional as well as physical and sexual, and that it is about patterns of abuse over time.
“This ground-breaking Bill is the culmination of many months of investigation into the suffering in silence of so many people,” said Ms Crosbie. “The cross-government nature of the Bill shows that this issue transcends politics, as we work together to defend the victims.”
The Government is also seeking to raise public awareness by appointing a Domestic Abuse Commissioner. This appointment will also help with the joined-up approach that is so vital between agencies, in order to tackle the problem.
Anglesey schools have also been helping to reach out to families by passing out emergency contact details to parents. Ynys Môn representatives of Gorwel have seen from their recent cases that victims can be reluctant to contact the police, for fear that they are too busy with coronavirus-related concerns. There are also cases of people in danger remaining in the same household, without realising that they are allowed to move, in order to reach a place of safety.
Ms Patel said: “I have visited Ynys Môn and I know their MP Virginia Crosbie will be an excellent addition to the Domestic Abuse Bill Committee; a voice for those on the Island and across the whole of the UK.”
“I am honoured to have been invited to be on the Committee,” said Ms Crosbie, “since the reason I have entered politics is to be a voice for those who have no voice”.