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“I’m sorry.” Perpetrators of domestic abuse told to apologise by police.

A report by the Fawcett Society has found that police forces are dealing with domestic abuse cases by simply asking the perpetrator to apologise to the victim on their doorstep. The report described domestic abuse and inappropriate sexual behaviours in society as “endemic.”

The research carried out by the charity found that a “worrying number” of incidents were dealt with in the most basic manner including “little more than an apology.” One force studied in the report was found to use this method or similar in 54 per cent of cases.

The report held that “guidance must be strengthened to make clear that ‘street level’ restorative justice should not be used in cases of domestic abuse or sexual violence, and data should be collected to ensure that forces are held accountable.”

Clearly such a practice leaves vulnerable victims in a position whereby, ultimately, they feel compelled to accept the abuser’s apology. Such victims are already in a vulnerable position and are often in controlling relationships. Such a situation, once again, hands power back to the perpetrator of the abuse.

Such worrying forms of ‘restorative justice’ are clearly dangerous and leave victims at high risk. The report found that such methods should not be used until “women’s organisations are confident that they are being delivered in such a way which will not harm victims or survivors.”

Clearly, such practices place victims and survivors at risk. They also, arguably, shift the focus from the perpetrator of the abuse to the victim. We would argue that far more needs to be done in society to tackle abuse at it’s root cause and prevent such a societal norm occurring in the first place. Should abuse occur, then victims must be afforded the protection they deserve.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse and need some advice contact our Family Helpline on 08000 147720, email or text LAW to 67777 to book a free thirty minute consultation at any of our offices across West Yorkshire to discuss matters in a confidential manner or to obtain further information. We also offer early morning and late evening appointments across our offices.

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