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2010 National Women's Conference
21 October 2009
Carried as Amended

This conference believes that domestic abuse training should become statutory in public sector organisations such as the Police, NHS, Local Government and Social Services and should become part of the workforce strategy.

On average every week two women are killed in England and Wales by their partners or ex partners (Crime in England and Wales 2006/2007 Report, Department of Health 2005).

In 2006/2007 sixty five per cent of female murder victims were killed by their partner, ex partner or lover (Home Office 2008: thirteen).

In any one year there are thirteen million separate incidents of violence or threats of violence against women by their partners or former partners (Walby & Allen 2004).

Fifty four per cent of all female rapes are committed by a woman’s partner or ex partner (Walby & Allen 2004).

An analysis of ten separate domestic violence prevalence studies by the Council of Europe showed consistent findings: one in four women experience domestic violence over their lifetimes, and between six to ten per cent of women suffer domestic violence in a given year (Council of Europe 2002).

The total cost is Twenty Three billion pounds a year to society (Walby 2004). The emotional cost is estimated at over seventeen billion pounds a year. The annual cost to children’s services is nearly zero point twenty five billion pounds, which is to provide services for children caught up in the repeated incidences of domestic abuse and its correlation with child abuse (Local Government Association 2006). Lost economic output accounts for two point seven billion pounds a year in terms of the cost of time off work due to injuries (Walby et al 2004).

As many female survivors of domestic abuse initial contact is with public sector organisations such as the Police, NHS (especially maternity and A&E), local Councils and Social Services it is vital that members of staff can identify the different aspects of domestic abuse and the impact that it has on both women and children. This could then lead to women suffering from domestic abuse receiving an informed and proactive response such as being signposted to supportive organisations which could thus potentially both save lives and support those women experiencing abuse.

Conference recognises that through CEL (47) the Scottish Government Health and Wellbeing Directorate has instructed Scottish NHS Boards to train staff who deal with the public on the impacts of gender based violence. However there is very little money dedicated to this piece of work and NHS boards are expected to fund both training and releasing staff to attend training from already reduced budgets.

Conference believes that this training needs to be carried out in a face-to-face context with space being given in the training to deal with training participants encountering experiences of abuse in their own lives.

Conference believes that as a result of a statutory training programme, employees will gain:

1)An ability to understand the many aspects of domestic abuse.

2)An enhanced knowledge of resources and options.

3)Understand the impact of domestic abuse on children.

4)Understand the importance of a multi agency response to domestic abuse.

At present there are domestic abuse awareness courses being held nationwide in different public sector agencies but these are not available to all agencies and are not considered part of the statutory training programmes. Increasingly public sector agencies are providing policies to support and protect employees who experience domestic abuse. However, the reality is that policies without training are poor policies.

Conference therefore believes that if domestic abuse training becomes statutory, we will better identify those women and children at risk and offer an early intervention to support and empower those affected.

National Women’s Conference asks that the National Women’s Committee:

1)Work with the NEC, GPF and Labour Link to lobby government and raise awareness of the benefits of statutory training, the need for dedicated funding for this training and to make improvements to the existing provision of domestic abuse training within the public sector.

2)Report back to National Women’s Conference 2011.