As a foundation we have campaigned tirelessly for a change in the law for those affected by domestic homicide and abuse, we are delighted by the statement today from our Prime Minister Theresa May that she plans to directly oversee a new law to ensure that victims are not let down by the legal system.
Quote from BBC News website:
‘The Domestic Violence and Abuse Act aims to address an inconsistency in the use of existing offences and measures.
Mrs May said tackling such abuse was a "key priority" for the government.
As home secretary, Mrs May introduced a new offence against controlling and coercive behaviour and domestic violence protection orders.
Domestic violence prosecutions and convictions have started to improve in recent years, and the prime minister said "no stone will be left unturned in delivering a system that increases convictions, and works better for victims".
Mrs May added: "Domestic violence and abuse is a life shattering and absolutely abhorrent crime.’
There were over 1.3m cases of domestic abuse last year and yet we know that many victims don’t report these crimes to the police, believing that nothing effective will be done, particularly after multiple times. We also know that less than 1% of perpetrators receive an effective conviction or help, free then to return to the family home to further traumatise the victim and their children. We are simply not doing enough to protect them.
The personal experience of Jo’s children, Diana (Jo’s Mother) and Hetti (Jo’s best friend) bear testament to this, they were let down by the legal system resulting in Robert Brown’s conviction of manslaughter despite the fact that he had already prepared a burial site for Jo.
We welcome the fact that ‘controlling and coercive behaviour’ has been highlighted, sadly in Jo’s case this stage of her relationship with her estranged husband became the trigger for her death, and despite escalating stalking and abuse no effective response from the law was available to her.
But despite many improvements in the law in recent years the effective application of those laws is not where it needs to be and inconsistent across the country. It is crucial that we raise awareness of these issues across society, focus on making our laws effective every time, and get to the point where victims get effective help earlier and improve their chances of long term recovery.
A key aim for the foundation is to transform the care, support and protection of children affected by domestic abuse and homicide. In the aftermath of these events, and through no fault of their own, the emergency services do not have the training to deal with these traumatised children. As a foundation this is something that we want to address.
But if we are ever to change things for the future, we must focus on our children. We know children who witness these crimes have a much higher likelihood of going on to be victims or perpetrators themselves. So getting them the right support early, is key as well as ensuring our schools give our children sensitive and effective learning on what constitutes healthy relationships and the effective of abuse.
In the case of domestic abuse children have mixed loyalties, you can view the video on our website which is filmed using actors but all quotes are from children that have been bereaved through domestic abuse.
We are working with the Anna Freud centre and Yale University to develop pioneering counselling for these young victims which has delivered exciting results in America and we hope to rollout across the country.
Donations to The Joanna Simpson Foundation fund legislative change, campaigning and awareness, and programmes to give children the help and support they need, working with trusted providers. We are making a difference but your donations will help to make this happen sooner , end suffering and ensure that more children go on to lead happy and successful lives.