A house of Lords peer has raised his concerns about the increase in domestic violence as Britain continues to battle through the third national lockdown.
British Indian NGOs and charities had already sought support during the first national lockdown seeking financial support especially for victims from ethnic minority backgrounds many who face cultural barriers around language and asylum.
Now, Lord Dholakia while speaking during a debate on the Domestic Abuse Bill has raised his concerns
about how instances of domestic abuse are appropriately tackled. Welcoming new legislation, that is, designed to increase awareness of domestic abuse and one which provides strengthened support for victims with an effective justice system, Lord Dholakia warned about the prevalence of domestic abuse which increased in the first lockdown. Added to this, as a multi-cultural society, he made a plea to recognise that domestic violence is often perpetrated in communities with different cultural practises.
He said, “We need to ensure that local authorities and other agencies are aware of specific and special issues affecting some members of our communities.”
He also pointed out another ugly feature of life in our society – online facilitated child sexual abuse and exploitation that he strongly condemned, as he noted how problems such as gambling also added to worsening domestic abuse.
He said, “Very few such problems are reflected publicly, and sadly, individuals suffer in silence. Further issues surrounding domestic violence include, the question of marriages which lack legal status in this country. Authorities must be aware of the need for public education on such matters and ensure, probation and social services are adequately staffed and trained to recognise such practises in our communities.”
Considering how justice is delivered and best serves the interests of victims and wider society as a whole, Lord Dholakia also raised concerns about crime statistics in the police forces. Public confidence is shaped by the quality of service we provide in our communities.
Citing damaging statistics on crime recording, he noted that in the past 12-month period reviewed by inspectors, the Manchester police force had recorded 77.7% of reported crimes, a drop of 11.3% from 2018 and shockingly, further statistics for the same police force showed that an estimated one in five of all crimes and one in four violent crimes were not recorded at all.
Questioning the Minister on how wide-spread under-recording is, he asked, “W]ill the Minister investigate practises in the remaining forces around the underreporting of crimes? How can we put any faith in crime statistics when we are told that crime is down?”