Victims of crimes like domestic abuse and sexual assault will be better protected following arrests of perpetrators under new provisions collectively known as ‘Kay’s Law,’ Safeguarding Minister Mims Davis has announced.
The reforms, which will come into force this week, will mean police have a duty to take into account the views of victims before releasing someone on bail.
Police will be encouraged to use pre-charge bail instead of releasing suspects under investigation, where it is necessary and proportionate.
Kay’s Law, named after a victim of domestic violence, is one of many measures the government has taken to support victims, bring perpetrators to justice and protect women and girls across the country. This includes the ‘ENOUGH’ campaign to tackle violence against women and girls, the second phase of which has launched this week.
The campaign aims to provide bystanders with a range of safe ways to intervene if they witness an incident of violence against women and girls, ranging from sexual harassment on the street, public transport or at work, to unwanted touching, sharing intimate images of someone without their consent and coercive control in a relationship.
The Minister for Safeguarding, Mims Davies said:
There is no place in our society for cowardly acts of violence against women and girls.
Abuse comes in many forms, and by standing against all of them, and holding perpetrators accountable, we can create a society where women and girls are safe.
This campaign, as well as our crucial reforms to pre-charge bail under Kay’s Law, is part of this vision. However, there is more to be done, and I am committed to continuing this vital work.
‘Kay’s Law’ is named after Kay Richardson, who was tragically murdered by her estranged husband after he was released under investigation, following his arrest for sexual offences against Kay. In 2019, the government launched a review of pre-charge bail legislation which led to the reforms being implemented this week, including the new duty which aims to provide better protection for victims like Kay. The measures were introduced as part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act.
Following the publication of the government’s Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy in 2021, the government launched the ‘ENOUGH’ campaign in March 2022.
The second phase of the campaign includes television adverts, billboards, social media and radio advertising which highlight different forms of violence against women and girls and the simple acts that anyone can take to challenge perpetrators of abuse.
Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth, National Police Chiefs’ Council Violence Against Women and Girls Coordinator said:
Policing has a key role of going after the violent people who commit these awful crimes but we cannot arrest our way out of the societal issues that lead to this behaviour. If we are serious about long-term change then we need to prevent harm and violence to women and girls by changing attitudes and behaviour across society.
Deniz Uğur, Deputy Director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW), said:
We welcome this next phase of the government’s Enough campaign to tackle male violence against women and girls, something the End Violence Against Women Coalition has campaigned for for years. We know that without shifting the attitudes behind male violence against women, this violence won’t end.
We’re pleased to see the Enough campaign focus on what everyone in society can do to end violence against women, because too often, campaigns are targeted at women and wrongly place the responsibility on us to ‘keep ourselves safe’. But ending violence against women is everyone’s business. We want to see men and boys actively engaged in this conversation, because we should all be able to take action and hold each other accountable.
Preventing violence is always better than waiting until harm has been done to act. Achieving this requires a genuine commitment, because this work takes time and needs dedicated and long-term resourcing.
Farah Nazeer, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid said:
We were pleased to help support the development of the Home Office’s Enough campaign, to raise awareness of violence against women and girls and encourage people to stop everyday abuse and harassment. Everyone has a role to play in ending violence against women – whether it takes place in the home or in public – and we must all step up and play our part. By changing public attitudes and challenging everyday misogyny and sexism, we can all help to make society a safer place for women and girls.
Graham Goulden, international leadership and bystander trainer and retired Scottish police officer said:
The Enough campaign provides focus on a very important group of people who can make a difference. Bystanders are often present in the build up to incidents, at the time of an incident or afterwards.
When one person speaks up they signal that a behaviour is wrong. They also make it ok for others to intervene as well. Therefore it’s important we communicate this message as well as giving friends, colleagues, neighbours and other bystanders the tools to act.
One person can make a difference. The Enough campaign will make a difference.
Through the campaign, the department says it is working with organisations involved in the night time economy and fitness industry, like gyms, as these are places where violence against women and girls can often occur.
The violence against women and girls Enough campaign has information and examples of how to intervene safely if you witness violence against women and girls. It also provides information on support services, how to report violence to the police and offers guidance for individuals worried about their own behaviour.
Over the coming weeks, the website will include a dedicated page for teachers with educational materials for use in schools on violence against women and girls.
The campaign has been developed with an advisory group of over 40 voluntary sector organisations, survivors and academics who have given their expert insight.