Domestic Violence

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2005 National Women's Conference
12 February 2005

Conference is concerned that it is still not widely known that domestic violence accounts for at least 25 per cent of all violent crime, that one in four women will experience domestic violence at some time in their lives, and that every week at least two women will be killed by violent partners or ex-partners.

Conference welcomes the recent moves by government to raise awareness of domestic violence and to improve the provision of services to victims, particularly through inter-agency working. However, there is still concern at the levels of funding available to government and non-government agencies that are providing valuable assistance to both victims and perpetrators.

Conference is concerned that the cost of obtaining a non-molestation and/or occupation order with the assistance of a solicitor can reach up to £2,000. As legal aid is means-tested many women are denied access to this service because their abusive partner’s salary is taken into account and they are also in employment.

Domestic violence affects the working lives of members. Many of our members are working for government and non government agencies involved in tackling the various aspects and effects of domestic violence and will come into contact with both victims and perpetrators. This could disproportionately affect any members who are victims. It is now accepted that victims could be working in the same building as their perpetrator. UNISON was one of the first trade unions to realise that violence in the home is a trade union issue through its ground breaking campaign Raise the Roof.

Conference therefore instructs the National Women’s Committee to:

1) lobby relevant government departments with a view to increasing awareness of domestic violence both as a workplace and a citizenship issue, increasing the funding available to statutory and voluntary sector bodies concerned in tackling domestic violence, and urging a review of the criteria to enable women to access legal aid when seeking injunctions in cases of domestic violence;

2) work with the National Executive Council, other appropriate self-organised groups and Labour Link to maximise the effectiveness of work in this area;

3)issue guidance on negotiating workplace policies, to support and assist members who become victims;

4)work with the NEC and other self-organised groups to ensure that it includes up to date information;

5)ensure that any materials produced include information relating to domestic violence for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender members, and other disadvantaged groups.