Domestic Violence *

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2004 National Women's Conference
6 October 2003

Women are most commonly the victims of violence and abuse, some on a daily basis. Historically, violence against women has not been treated as real crime. Evidence to support this is shown in the lack of severe sentencing or incarceration of perpetrators.

Abuse is behaviour used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often through the threat of, or actual violence.

In many cultures women are dependent on their partners because:

1)they have a dependent child or children;

2)they are unemployed;

3)they have no home solely in their name;

4)they lack a bank account or access to it;

5)they fear losing children or joint access;

6)they fear a decline in living standards.

Reasons women stay with abusive partners are complex, some common reasons are fear, increased violence if they leave, no family support, fear of deportation, fear of financial instability, and, the hope things will change. Many councils rely on charities to provide refuges, and funding for them may not be on their priority list.

In recent years the police have had more power to remove the perpetrator from the home and there is also the power of arrest. Injunctions are being implemented more so than in previous years.

We recognise UNISON has done a lot with their Raise the Roof Campaign but more has to be done to follow up this issue as a priority. Conference calls upon the National Women’s Committee to:

a)further highlight UNISON’s Raise the Roof Campaign;

b)refer to UNISON’s Labour Link;

c)circulate a personal safety plan.