One in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. More women are killed or incapacitated by violence against them than by cancer. Every week, two women in England in Wales are killed by a current or former partner.
Faced with these facts it seems almost impossible to imagine the mountain we need to climb to end violence against women. We need to take bold action now to tackle this crisis. This International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, I’m proud to set out the Liberal Democrat plan to protect women from violence.
One in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.
A Liberal Democrat government will join our European partners in ratifying and implementing the Istanbul Convention. This Convention calls for governments to take stronger actions to prevent violence against women and protect victims, as well as promoting cultural change and awareness of the issue. It’s a disgrace that such a vital document has been overlooked by the UK government, when it could fuel cultural change and significantly improve the lives of victims.
We will legislate for a definition of domestic abuse which includes its effects on children, so that the law reflects the real impact abuse and violence can have. The legal system can be traumatic for survivors of abuse. The Liberal Democrats will ensure survivors’ access to special measures in all courts and prevent cross-examination by abusers.
Together we can bring about the change we need to end violence against women.
As part of a push to expand the number of refuges and rape crisis centres, the Liberal Democrats will give local authorities the duty and funding to provide accommodation and support for survivors of abuse. We will make sure that specialist support services have the funding they need, and establish a national rape crisis helpline so people can access support as soon as they need it.
I’m proud to lead a party who’ve adopted such a strong plan to protect women from violence. I’m grateful that the Women’s Equality Party are supporting our plan, and have stood aside their candidates in two of our key seats. And I’m hopeful that together, we can bring about the change we need to end violence against women.