LONDON, (Reuters) – Men who violently abuse their wives or girlfriends could be monitored on a police database so other women could be warned about them, under a public consultation launched by government yesterday.
“Violence against women and girls is unacceptable in any form no matter what the circumstances are,” said Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.
“I want to reduce the fear of serious violence that can infringe the absolute right of women to go about their lives free from fear.”
Last year more than 950,000 women were victims of domestic violence and 475,000 suffered a sexual assault, according to British Crime Survey estimates.
As Britain slips into recession, those figures could rise. The head of the National Policing Improvement Agency told Reuters last week that forces were anticipating a surge in domestic violence because of the economic downturn.
The 12-week consultation will include a police review of what new legal powers would be needed to track violent men who move from one relationship to another on the new Police National Database.
“Many people will think: ‘If I knew somebody was coming into my household as my new partner who was dangerous and had been a previous abuser of people like me and my children, I would want to know,’“ Wiltshire Chief Constable Brian Moore told the BBC.
Moore, who leads on domestic violence for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said one in six of all murders in Britain were domestic violence killings.
The Home Office said the consultation would be the largest ever conducted on violence against women.