Counting Dead Women in Other Countries

Australia

Counting Dead Women – Australia  – Count by Destroy The Joint – counting every woman killed due to violence against women

Man Murders Woman 2015

Counting Dead Aboriginal Women 2015

Canada

Canada – Counting Dead Women  – Orla Hegarty

New Zealand

New Zealand – Counting Dead Women

Other femicide counts:

Spain

MUJERES ASESINADAS EN ESPAÑA POR VIOLENCIA MACHISTA en 2016

USA

Counting Dead Women USA

Please contact me if you’re aware of women in other counties who are commemorating women killed by men.

Beheaded

82-year-old Palmira Silva was found beheaded in a garden in Edmonton, north London. A 25-year-old-man was arrested on suspicion of murder.  Police have stated that there is no reason to suspect a terrorist motive.

This is not an “isolated incident”. She is the third woman to have been beheaded in London in less than six months. On the 3 June 2014, Tahira Ahmed, 38, was decapitated. Her husband, Naveed Ahmed, 41, was charged with her murder. In April 2014, Judith Nibbs, 60, was decapitated, allegedly by her estranged husband Demsey Nibbs, 67.

Last year, in June, Reema Ramzan, 18, was decapitated by boyfriend, Aras Hussain, 21. The year before, in October 2012, Catherine Gowing, 39, was decapitated and raped by serial rapist Clive Sharp, 47. In March the same year Elizabeth Coriat, 76, was decapitated by her son Daniel Coriat, 43; earlier the same month, Gemma McCluskie, 29, had been decapitated by her brother Tony McCluskie, 36.

A beheading is no less horrific if there is not a suspected terrorist motive. Yet, 100 women in the UK have been killed though suspected male violence so far this year. Each of their deaths should cause outrage. That they don’t, that fatal male violence against women is accepted as one of those things that happens, that a COBRA meeting hasn’t been called to stop men from killing women, should tell us all we need to know about who is – and who isn’t – seen as important in our society.

Grayson Perry talking about masculinity at the Women of the World festival

Did Grayson Perry really talk about his Bill of Rights for Men at Southbank’s Women of the World festival?  Can anyone who was there confirm?

At a festival celebrating women, is this appropriate?

 “We men ask ourselves and others for the following: 1. the right to be vulnerable; 2. the right to be weak; 3. the right to be wrong; 4. the right to be intuitive; 5. the right not to know; 6. the right to be uncertain; 7. the right to be flexible; 8. the right not to be ashamed of any of these things.”

Imagine Iain Duncan Smith at the Paralympics:

“We people who are not disabled ask ourselves and others for the following: 1. the right to be vulnerable; 2. the right to be weak; 3. the right to be wrong; 4. the right to be intuitive; 5. the right not to know; 6. the right to be uncertain; 7. the right to be flexible; 8. the right not to be ashamed of any of these things.”

Imagine Mark Harper at the Notting Hill Carnival:

“We white people ask ourselves and others for the following: 1. the right to be vulnerable; 2. the right to be weak; 3. the right to be wrong; 4. the right to be intuitive; 5. the right not to know; 6. the right to be uncertain; 7. the right to be flexible; 8. the right not to be ashamed of any of these things.”

Imagine at a Koestler Trust awards event celebrating the art of offenders, secure patients and detainees

“We people at liberty ask ourselves and others for the following: 1. the right to be vulnerable; 2. the right to be weak; 3. the right to be wrong; 4. the right to be intuitive; 5. the right not to know; 6. the right to be uncertain; 7. the right to be flexible; 8. the right not to be ashamed of any of these things.”

What’s next?  Shall I offer to talk about the rights of heterosexuals at Pride?  Has anyone thought to invite George Osborne to talk about poor maligned Tories at any events making the 30th anniversary of the Miner’s Strike?

Just another case of  “What about the men?” Women as a class are oppressed by men as a class.  I can understand an examination of masculinity as a tool of women’s oppression at a festival for women even though it’s hardly a cause for celebration – but an examination of the oppression of the oppressors?

Just because it’s art doesn’t mean it isn’t racist sexist objectification of women

Bjarne Melgaard who as described by art critic Roberta Smith,  “never met a taboo he didn’t like breaking,” has a reputation to maintain as an aging enfant terrible .  He has produced a ‘chair-as-art’  based on a similar one created in the 1960s by Allen Jones. The chair is a woman on her back with her thighs pulled up to her chest and her calves and feet sticking up in the air.  The backs of her thighs make the seat.  She is wearing black knickers, long gloves and boots.  The difference is that Melgaard’s chair is a made to resemble a black woman and Jones’ is white.

Russian fashion designer and the editor-in-chief of new bi-annual art and fashion magazine GARAGE, Dasha Zhukova (note – it really isn’t acceptable to reduce a woman to that of girlfriend of a man, however rich and famous he happens to be) is a white woman who has been photographed smiling beatifically from the chair. The image is of a fully-clothed white woman sitting on top of a pornographied black woman. The photo-shoot accompanied  an interview with on-line fashion website Buro 24/7 about the launch of Zhukova’s magazine and has sparked what has been referred to as a ‘racism row’. The editor of the Buro 24/7 Miroslava Duma and Zhukova herself have since apologised. Duma’s apology reads:

“Dear all, Buro 24/7 team and I personally would like to express our sincerest apology to anyone who we have offended and hurt.  It was ABSOLUTELY not our intention. We are against racism or gender inequality or anything that infringes upon anyone’s rights. We love, respect and look up to people regardless of their race, gender or social status. The chair in the photo should only be seen as a piece of art which was created by British Pop-Artist Allen Jones, and not as any form of racial discrimination. In our eyes everyone is equal. And we love everybody.”

Zhukova is reported as saying: “This photograph, which has been published completely out of context, is of an artwork intended specifically as a commentary on gender and racial politics.”  Art critic Jonathan Jones has waded into the furore and defended  the piece arguing that the intention is the opposite of racist:

“in making this woman black he means to retoxify the art of Allen Jones, to offend people with an image long since accepted. It is to question power and representation. Are you offended by this black woman’s abuse? Then why is it OK for white women to be similarly humiliated in a respected pop art icon in the Tate collection?  Offensiveness in art is often a way to satirise injustice.”

Firstly, yes,  I am offended by Jones’ original piece.  The sexual objectification of women is taken to the further depth of a literal objectification by turning us in to a piece of furniture.  But whether art critic Jonathan Jones realises it or not, the objectification of white and black women is not the same.  Black and white women are rarely treated the same in pornography, depictions of black women are rarely free of racial stereotypes.  In Miroslava Duma’s world, everyone might be equal – though I would be interested to see a breakdown of the sex and race of contributors to her magazine – but in the real world they are not; and black women are doubly oppressed, through their race as well as their sex.  The model of the objectified pornographied black woman is made more offensive when it is sat upon by a fully-clothed white woman.

There’s nothing inherently big or clever about breaking taboos,  there’s nothing new about dressing –up porn as art or the art elite explaining to us plebs that we just don’t get it.  Miroslava Duma and Dasha Zhukova are absurdly wealthy white women making Duma’s protestation that “everybody is equal’, at best  ill-considered and uninformed.  Bjarne Melgaard, Allen Jones and Jonathan Jones are white men.  As people who have experienced neither racial nor sexual oppression, their defence of either is worthless.  Pornography is the eroticisation of unequal power relations and art or not, pornography reinforces, not challenges inequality.

UK women killed through suspected male violence January – September 2013

In September 2013, at least 13 women in the UK are suspected to have been killed through male violence:

  1. Harjit Chagger was 69. Her body was found 12 days after she had been reported missing by her family in Chatham, Kent.  She died from head and chest injuries.  Three men, Abdul Hannan, 44, Murshed Miah, 38, both from Maidstone, and Mohammad Islam, 28, who all work at the shop where her body was found have been charged with her murder
  2. Aamena Hussain, 29, also known as Jyoti Puaar was found dead in east London.  Two days earlier police had responded to calls regarding an assault by a 33 year old man at her home. A criminal investigation is on-going and a 33-year-old man has been released on police bail.
  3. Rosemary Shearman, 77  was found dead at home in Hornchurch, East London.  The cause of her death was asphyxiation.  Thomas Blazquez, 50, has been charged with her murder.
  4. Kirsty Humphrey, 23 was found dead in Colchester. 24-year old Mark Czapla has been charged with her murder.  She died  from stab wounds to her head and chest.
  5. Lisa Banks, 46 was found dead in the barber shop where she worked in North Shields, Tyne & Wear. She died of multiple injuries. Her husband , Robert Tiffin, 46, has been charged with her murder.
  6. Amina Bibi, 43, was found dead in her flat in East London.  Her husband Mohamed Ali, 64, was charged with the murder as was Frederick Best. She had been stabbed.  She was found by her 11 year old son.
  7. Varkha Rami, 28, was found dead at home in Walsall after having been reported missing.  Her husband Jasvir Ram Ginday, 29, has been charged with her murder.  They had been married for a month.
  8. Gemma Finnigan, 24, was found dead at home in Boldon, South Shields.  Daniel Johnson, 32, who lived with her has been charged with her murder.  The cause of her death has not been released.
  9. Shehnila Taufiq, 47 and her daughter  Zainab, 19 were killed in a fire at the home in Leicester along with her two sons.  Aaron Webb, 19,  Akeem Jeffers, 21,  Shaun Carter, 24, Jackson Powell, 19, and Nathaniel Mullings, 19, Kemo Porter, 18, and a 16-year- old are  each facing four counts of murder.
  10. See above
  11. Marion Vita, 48 died after being found at her home in the Baillieston, Glasgow.  Her husband, Anthony Vita has been charged.
  12. Mumtaz Sattar, 38, died shortly after she and her husband Abdul arrived in Lahore to visit relatives.  Abdul Sattar said Mumtaz Sattar died after drinking spiked tea in a robbery on a taxi journey.  However, a post-mortem revealed a Ms Sattar suffered a serious head injury and also had a broken bone inher neck which has been said to be consistent with throttling. Police from their hometown,  Glasgow are assisting Pakistan colleagues with details of domestic violence reported by Mumtaz Sattar before she went on holiday.
  13. Tolu Kalejaiye,44 of Wickford Essex was found died of a neck wound and was found at home.  Her son, Emmanual Kalejaiye, 21, has been charged with her murder.

The list below is of 91 UK women killed through suspected male violence so far in 2013.  91 women in  273  days, that’s one  woman every 3 days:

Janelle Duncan Bailey

25

02-Jan

Akua Agyueman

23

03-Jan

Anastasia Voykina

23

07-Jan

Myrna Kirby

57

11-Jan

Suzanne Bavette Newton

45

13-Jan

Virginja Jurkiene

49

19-Jan

Chloe Siokos

80

22-Jan

Debbie Levey

44

28-Jan

Sasha Marsden

16

31-Jan

Una Crown

86

31-Jan

Hayley Pointon

30

03-Feb

Pernella Forgie

79

07-Feb

Ganimete Hoti

42

11-Feb

Samantha Medland

24

17-Feb

Alexis Durant

42

20-Feb

Glynis Solmaz

65

20-Feb

Dimitrina Borisova

46

21-Feb

Victoria Rose

58

02-Mar

Chantelle Barnsdale-Quean

35

04-Mar

Susan Cole

54

06-Mar

Christina Edkins

16

06-Mar

Jennifer Rennie

26

11-Mar

Daneshia Arthur

30

18-Mar

Pamela Jackson

55

last seen 20 March
Ellen Ash

83

21-Mar

Mary Roberts

50

27-Mar

Janis Dundas

63

05-Apr

Deborah Simister

45

08-Apr

Lisa Clay

41

09-Apr

Mariam Ali Shaaban Hussain Khesroh

24

11-Apr

Dawn Warburton

40

13-Apr

Naika Inayat

52

17-Apr

Jabeen Younis

32

19-Apr

Irene Dale

78

27-Apr

Heather Arthur

50

29-Apr

Salma Parveen

22

29-Apr

Christine Baker

52

30-Apr

Margaret Knight

77

01-May

Margaret Mercati

63

15-May

Margery Gilbey

88

24-May

Georgia Williams

17

26-May

Yvonne Walsh

25

02-Jun

Krishnamaya Mabo

39

03-Jun

Myrna Holman

76

03-Jun

Reema Ramzan

18

04-Jun

Katie Jenkin

20

08-Jun

Alice McMeekin

58

08-Jun

Marianne Stones

58

09-Jun

Lilima Akter

27

14-Jun

Zaneta Kindzierska

32

16-Jun

Mushammod Asma BegumGeorgina Barnett

21

90

20-Jun

25 Jun

Linzi Ashton

25

29-Jun

Rania Alayed

25

Louisa Denby

84

01-Jul

Susan White

51

01-Jul

Kate Dixon

40

02-Jul

Denise Williamson

44

05-Jul

Sabeen Thandi

37

07-Jul

Shavani Kapoor

35

10-Jul

Jane McRae

55

17-Jul

Julie Beattie

24

19-Jul

Rosemary Gill

48

20-Jul

Alexandra Kovacs

25

21-Jul

Jean Redfern

67

22-Jul

Sarah Redfern

33

22-Jul

Keisha McKenzie

28

29-Jul

Linah Keza

29

31-Jul

Anu Kapoor

27

04-Aug

Caroline Parry

46

08-Aug

Mayurathy Perinpamoorihy

06-Aug

Judith Maude

57

11-Aug

Gail Lucas

51

14-Aug

Orina Morawiec

21

15-Aug

Julie Connaughton

57

16-Aug

Jane Wiggett

57

16-Aug

Sabrina Moss

24

24-Aug

Betty Gallagher

87

25-Aug

Harjit Chagger

69

Sept
Aamena Hussain

29

03-Sep

Rosemary Shearman

72

03-Sep

Kirsty Humphrey

23

04-Sep

Lisa Banks

46

08-Sep

Amina Bibi

43

12-Sep

Varkha Rami

28

12-Sep

Gemma Finnigan

24

13-Sep

Shehnila Taufiq

47

13-Sep

Zainab Taufiq

19

13-Sep

Marion Vita

48

20-Sep

Mumtaz Sattar

38

21-Sep

Tolu Kalejaiye

46

26-Sep

I have launched a campaign “Counting Dead Women” because I want to see a fit-for-purpose record of fatal male violence against women.  I want to see the connections between the different forms of fatal male violence against women.  I want Domestic Homicide Review reports to be accessible from a single central source.  I want to see a homicide review for every sexist murder.  I want the government to fund a Femicide Observatory , where relationships between victim and perpetrator and social, cultural and psychological issues are analysed.  I want to believe that the government is doing everything it can to end male violence against women and girls. And I think the government should be recording and commemorating women killed through male violence – not me, a lone woman in a bedroom in east London

Let’s start counting dead women, not ignoring them. If you want us as a society, the press and the government to stop ignoring dead women, if you want us to find ways to stop women being killed,  please join me, add your voice and click here to sign my this petition.  

*Updated 2nd October to include Georgina Barnet, who died on 25 June after being attacked several days earlier

Anybody would think that Florida State Attorney Angela Corey has a problem with young black men and women

Angela Corey is an American attorney currently serving as the State Attorney in Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit Court after being elected in 2008. She is the first woman to hold the position. Angela Corey is reputed to be a ‘tough on crime’ prosecutor. On average, Corey tries more male juveniles as adults than any other county court in Florida. However, Corey also tries a much greater percentage of black male juveniles as adults than the rest of Florida. In the five year period between 2006/7 and 2010/11, across the state of Florida, an average of 52 % of black male juveniles were tried as adults for crimes they had committed. Angela Corey tried an average of 70%. The same state over the same time period tried an average of 25% of white male juveniles as adults for crimes that they had committed, Angela Corey, on the other hand, tried an average of 18%. (Source)

florida juveniles tried as adults

In 2012, Julie Bindel interviewed Angela Corey. In a piece on the death penalty, Bindel quotes Corey talking about the death penalty:

“I had a young black woman tell me she was totally against the death penalty unless somebody killed someone in her family. Luckily justice is blind and we treat everyone’s loved ones the same.”

I do not support the death penalty. However, analysis of death penalty data tells us that Florida is far from unique with its racist application of ‘ justice’.  Since 1976, 35% of people executed in the USA were black, 56% were white.  Their victims were black in 15% of cases and white in 77% of cases. However, where the victim was white and the killer was black, there have been 261 executions (I prefer to see them as state sanctioned murders). Where the victim was black and the killer was white there have been only 20. What is particularly worrying is that America knows its justice is racist.   The United States General Accounting Office, Death Penalty Sentencing report from February 1990 states: “In 82% of the studies [reviewed], race of the victim was found to influence the likelihood of being charged with capital murder or receiving the death penalty, i.e., those who murdered whites were found more likely to be sentenced to death than those who murdered blacks.”  Angela Corey is therefore just one of many, but if justice is -as she claims – blind, it is blind to racism not race.

Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old young black man was chased, beaten and shot by George Zimmerman in Florida on 26th February 2012. Zimmerman claimed he feared for his life and was acting in self-defence.

Less than two years previously, Marissa Alexander, a 31-year-old black American woman had been jailed under Corey.  On 1st August 2010, Marissa Alexander’s husband, Rico Gray, hit her, attempted to strangle her, threatened that no one else could have her and told her, “Bitch, I will kill you,” as he ran towards her. She fired a warning shot from her gun which was angled away from him. She did not hit him and originally Rico Grey said that he did not believe she had intended to kill him.

George Zimmerman pleaded self-defence,  even though he ignored a 911 call-taker’s recommendation that he did not need to leave his car and chase Trayvon Martin, even though, despite this recommendation to the contrary, he hunted for Trayvon Martin, confronted him, attacked him and shot him dead. Marissa Alexander was trying to flee from Rico Grey. She was in her mother’s home. He had attacked her moments before and was threatening to kill her. He has a record of domestic violence against her and several other women.

Trayvon Martin is dead. His shooter, his assailant, his attacker, George Zimmerman, walked free after being found not guilty of murder.

Rico Grey is alive and well. His shooter, who was trying to escape from him and against whom he has a history of violence, was found guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Marissa Alexander was sentenced to twenty years in prison.

George Zimmerman has a criminal record which included domestic violence and “battery of law enforcement officer”. Marissa Alexander did not have a prior criminal record.

Anyone would think that ‘tough on crime’ prosecutor Angela Corey is a little tougher on young black men than young white men. Anyone would think that ‘tough on crime’ prosecutor Angela Corey is a little less tough if the victim of crime is black. Anyone would think that ‘tough on crime’ prosecutor Angela Corey is a little tougher on crimes committed by black women with a history of being a victim of domestic violence.  Anyone would think that justice in America is racist.

Anyone wanting to support Marissa Alexander may want to sign this petition demanding that she is pardoned: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/503/600/056/dont-imprison-marissa-alexander-for-standing-her-ground/

The Coalition Government and broadening the fight to end violence against women and girls beyond the Criminal Justice System

On the 25 November 2010, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the Coalition Government launched the Call to End Violence against Women and Girls, just over six months after it had come in to power. It was followed in March 2011 by an action plan comprising 88 supporting actions for taking the strategy forward. In the foreword, the Home Secretary Theresa May acknowledged:

“The causes and consequences of violence against women and girls are complex. For too long government has focused on violence against women and girls as a criminal justice issue”

and went on to say that prevention would be at the heart of the government’s approach, along with working with families and communities to change attitudes. Lynne Featherstone, then the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities and Criminal Information added that

“This suffering is a form of gender inequality and it is wrong”.

It almost sounds like we have a government that is ready to recognise that violence against women and girls is both a consequence and cause of inequality between women and men. The problem is, despite Theresa May’s assurances, the government seems to be wilfully ignoring many of the ways that they could address violence against women and girls outside the Criminal Justice System.

Starting with the cuts that followed the comprehensive saving review, the austerity package has hit women hardest. Data from the Women’s Budget Group revealed

  • Of the welfare savings (cuts) 74% came from the pockets of women.
  • Two-thirds of those who have lost jobs in councils and schools since May 2010 were women, in 19 English local authorities, 100% of the jobs that were lost were women’s jobs
  • For the first time in decades, the pay gap between women and men has stopped decreasing and started increasing.

The Universal Credit scheme, the government’s next big step in welfare reform, is scheduled to start in October 2013. The government says it’s about fairness, about making work pay and making the welfare system simpler by providing a single monthly payment for those in receipt of benefits. Where a couple are claiming, benefits will paid jointly to just one of them. This is despite the finding, in the British Crime Survey 2004, that 41% of women who’ve experienced domestic force have also suffered financial abuse. Where women are in receipt of benefits and in violent relationships, perpetrators are being mandated to have increased control over finances.

The wider measures to end violence against women and girls outside the Criminal Justice System don’t appear to extend to personal finances.

Lynne Featherstone has spoken about her outrage at the pressure for women to look a certain way; that she can see how body image affects women’s confidence and even goes as far as saying that it can be a kind of violence against women. She went on to say “There’s obviously sometimes a good rationale for plastic surgery. When you’ve had five children and your breasts are hanging round your waist and it’s affecting your life, then I wouldn’t really have a problem with women getting that sorted”. Try as I might, I cannot see how identifying the effects of feeding babies on a woman’s body as a good rationale for surgery are anything other than misogynistic. She has also said of herself, “I have the power of all middle aged women, the power to nag” “I have the powers of high level nagging”.

The wider measures to end violence against women and girls outside the Criminal Justice System don’t appear to extend to addressing the pressure on women to conform to the patriarchal fuckability standard or avoiding descriptions of women’s contribution to politics that conform to negative gender stereotypes.

Nadine Dorries has been busily trying her best to erode abortion rights, to reduce the abortion time limit from 24 to 20 weeks, a measure which is reported to be supported by Theresa May, Maria Miller and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Yet in 2011, 91% of abortions took place before 13 weeks and the number of abortions post-13 weeks has been steadily declining since 2008. There are bigger issues in reproductive health care that need attention, such as reproductive violence, access to contraception and improving access to early abortion.

The wider measures to end violence against women and girls outside the Criminal Justice System don’t appear to extend to considering the impact of reproductive violence or an attack on women’s bodily autonomy.

Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and Minister for Women and Equalities has recently set out plans for a ‘Guide for Girls’ information pack to help parents bring up ‘aspirational young women’. The aim is to help girls ‘realise their potential’ in response to concerns raised by the Women’s Business Council, including the fact that the number of female chief executives in the FTSE 100 has fallen to just three in the past year.

Miller told the Observer:

“Making sure women can be successful at work and in business is essential if we want a strong economy. Encouraging women to fulfil their potential doesn’t begin when they are already working; it starts when they are young, still at school. A vital part of future career success is the aspirations that girls have early in their lives, and the choices they make about subjects and qualifications.

“Parents are vital in helping girls make these choices, and we know that many parents want help with that. This campaign will give parents the knowledge and confidence they need to make sure that their daughters make choices which will help them realise their ambitions.”

Yet since the Coalition Government came to power, more than 400 Sure Start children’s centres have closed and more than a third (£430m) has been cut from Sure Start government funding between 2010-11 and 2012-13. Sure Start was launched in 1998 with the aim of “giving children the best possible start in life”. In the first year of the Coalition Government an additional 300,000 children were plunged into poverty. The British Crime Survey has identified poverty as a risk factor to some forms or domestic and sexual violence. Poverty is a strong predictor of low educational performance. Research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation demonstrated that disadvantaged children are more likely to be reluctant recipients of the taught curriculum, influencing different attitudes to education at primary school that help shape their future and their future aspirations. It may be a cynical position but it does not seem likely that the target audience of Maria Miller’s ‘Guide for Girls’ is parents living in poverty.

The wider measures to end violence against women and girls outside the Criminal Justice System don’t extend to addressing the educational attainment of girls raised in poverty.

Also this month, Labour proposed an amendment to Clause 20 of the Children and Families Bill to make relationships and sex education a mandatory part of the school curriculum. This seems wholly consistent with Theresa May’s stated aim of increasing the focus on prevention and working to change attitudes – for example the attitudes of the 43% of young people who agree that it’s acceptable for a boyfriend to be aggressive under certain circumstances. Yet all but two members of the government, including Theresa May and Lynne Featherstone, voted against the proposal.

The wider measures to end violence against women and girls outside the Criminal Justice System don’t extend to the full potential of the school curriculum to be a force for attitudinal change.

One of the steps that the Coalition Government has introduced to tackle domestic violence is The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, or Clare’s Law, that enables people to ask the police if their partner has a history of domestic violence.

It was created following a campaign by the family of Clare Wood, who was killed by her ex-boyfriend, George Appleton, in 2009. A pilot is currently being run in Greater Manchester, Wiltshire, Nottingham and Gwent. Greater Manchester police revealed that approximately half of the requests they receive result in the disclosure of information whilst Wiltshire police have revealed that they received 10 applications in one week alone. Whilst the principle of allowing women access to information held by the state about violent men is welcome, there remain questions, these include how a woman may be judged in the light of actions that she takes or doesn’t take if she is informed of a man’s violent past. There is a huge potential for shifting the culpability for violence back on to the victim and for agencies to absolve themselves of their responsibility – after all, she knew about him and didn’t leave. There is also the question of whether women will be held responsible for harm that a violent perpetrator does to children, after all – she knew about him and didn’t leave. There is also the matter of access to specialist support which is vital for women, whether or not they find out that a man has a history of violence. Those that are told that there is no history on record have surely asked for information because they have legitimate reason to feel concerned. We know that most domestic violence is not reported. “No history on record” is not the same as “no history” or “no risk”.

Theresa May said at the launch of The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme: “Domestic violence is a dreadful crime which sees two women a week die at the hands of their partners and millions more suffer years of abuse in their own homes. That is why we are constantly looking at new ways of protecting victims.” I welcome this; but what about the full range of wider measures to end violence against women and girls outside the Criminal Justice System?

And what of the specialist services, the ones that support women who have experienced domestic and sexual violence? A Freedom of Information request to 152 local authorities found that of the 101 councils that responded, there had been cuts of £5.6m to services including refuges, domestic violence advocates, victim support centres and centres for women who have been raped or sexually assaulted between 2009/10 and 2012/13. Remaining services are increasingly subject to competitive tendering, with contracts frequently awarded to organisations that are not specialists, that are not run from woman centered perspectives but that are chasing business and able to make low-cost bids.

The wider measures to end violence against women and girls outside the Criminal Justice System don’t extend to maintaining and extending specialist service provision. Until we see effective steps being taken that actually do result in a decrease in male violence against women and girls, cuts to services speak louder than empty promises.

The Home Secretary was right, for too long successive governments have focused on violence against women and girls as a criminal justice issue if they have focused on it at all. However, if the Coalition knows that a wider approach is needed, its actions and inactions belie that commitment. When we have a Prime Minster who resorts to sexist put-downs of women MPs, when there are only five women but nine Oxford alumni in the coalition cabinet, when the Deputy Prime Minister cannot bring himself to condemn a rich and powerful man putting his hands around a woman’s throat because it might have been “just a fleeting thing”, the government is undermining and contradicting the fine promises of its strategy to end male violence against women and girls.  Male violence against women and girls is a cause and consequence of structural inequality between women and men, and until a government seriously approaches the issue from that perspective, women and girls will continue to be beaten, raped, assaulted, abused, controlled and killed by men.

This post is an updated version of a piece that appeared on the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association blog. My thanks to FWSA for inviting me to write for them. http://fwsablog.org.uk/2013/06/19/the-coalition-government-and-broadening-the-fight-to-end-violence-against-women-and-girls-beyond-the-criminal-justice-system/