Jacqui Smith’s Abuse Register a ‘Gimmick’

Our Home Secretary is at it again. Wedded as she is to databases and the rationalisation of information, rather than actually analysing it and appreciating the nuances of human behaviour, she’s consulting on a national register of domestic abusers. Thing is, campaigners in the field see it as the futile exercise which it clearly is:

Jacqui Smith, Britain’s first female Home Secretary, was ambushed at the launch of her consultation on domestic violence yesterday when a leading campaigner she had invited to the event denounced the plans as “gimmicks”.

Sandra Horley, the chief executive of Refuge, stunned ministers and police at the round-table discussion when she described Government action as “piecemeal” and condemned proposals for a register of serial domestic abusers.

She said: “The perpetrators’ register … is a gimmick and it doesn’t address the root problem. The majority of violent men don’t come to the attention of police and it won’t keep women safe. Police can’t be expected to monitor relationships and love lives of offenders.

“The Government is hoping to get away with useless initiatives like this register and it is hypocritical to sound tough and do little.”

Entirely right! It’s typical of this government to try more and more such ‘protection policies’, which are very high profile, respond to the moral panic of the day but achieve very little on the ground. Such a register would make the real abuse which goes on in countless British homes even more invisible than it already is. The majority of violent men indeed don’t come to the attention of the police – idiotic, half-baked schemes such as these keep it that way too. Additionally:

Government plans for a new consultation on domestic violence will not cover abuse in same-sex relationships or violence suffered by men.

In 2007, 142 people died in domestic attacks, including 38 men.

Just in case you were wondering whether this really was a gimmick or not. Good for Sandra Horley for calling them on it.

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