Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Protect or Punish?

ResolutionThis is something that I saw in the Gazette last week, but haven't gotten around to posting about until now. Resolution has issued a press release suggesting that "new laws designed to punish perpetrators of domestic abuse may actually work against the interests of their victims and reduce the likelihood of offences being reported, putting victims at risk. From July 1st this year, the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act makes breach of a non-molestation or occupation order a criminal offence, punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment. Until now it has been a civil offence...Resolution fears that the change may deter victims from reporting attacks or taking action if they know that the perpetrator could end up with a criminal record". A good point. As the release goes on to say: "first and foremost, the law should protect the victim rather than punish the perpetrator". Quite. Is the government missing the point here?

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