I hope that the bleak statistics in today’s report, contrasted with the inspiring stories from parts of the country that serve as a beacon, will serve as a wake-up call and inspire others to take action. But for those councils who continue to ignore the dire need to shore up services and plug the gaps, we also have a stark reminder: the Commission is ready and willing to use its enforcement powers.
Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission
Every year in Britain, around three million women are raped, abused or beaten by a partner, stalked, forced into marriage or suffer other violence. And there are many more who have experienced violence or abuse in the past including as a child. So there are potentially millions of women who need support. The vast majority never report to the police.
Whilst men and boys may also experience some of these forms of violence, they are disproportionately experienced by women (see Myths and Facts). The scale of violence in women’s lives, the contexts it takes place in, its meaning and consequences, all make violence against women part of the continued inequality between women and men.
Ensuring equal access to specialised support
Every woman and girl who has suffered violence has the right to specialised support to enable them to create safety and rebuild their lives.
Yet our Map of Gaps study shows that women who need these vital support services are facing a postcode lottery. While some areas in GB have many and varied services, others areas have none. This means a woman’s access to crucial support is vastly influenced by where she lives and women living in some areas continue to suffer violence without any specialised support at all.
It is unacceptable that in 2009 many women in GB still have no specialised support and that others must travel long distances to find it. We are calling on local and national governments to work together to make sure all women in all parts of GB have equal access to specialised support services – helplines, rape crisis centres, refuges and domestic violence outreach projects.