I recently took part in a Radio 5 Live broadcast on the subject of coercive control and stalking and gave my view that the only explanation for the continued failures of the police in investigating these crimes, is endemic misogyny within the police forces in England and Wales.
I say this based on over 20 years’ experience, with over 15,000 clients, dealing exclusively with these types of cases across England and Wales and seeing that the most common way in which victims are treated is with an attitude of disbelief, leaving victims feeling as though they are wasting police time.
I have lost count of the times that the police have been held to ’have failed victims of domestic abuse and stalking’ for them to roll out their stock response of “lessons will be learned” and for their practice to then continue in exactly the same way, allowing yet more women to be murdered.
The police seem to approach each report with an attitude of disbelief and minimisation so that victims often give up reporting all together. The failure of the police to take appropriate action also serves to embolden the perpetrator as they see that they are “getting away with it” – a sense that with the police not talking it seriously, they can escalate their behaviour without consequence. This is something that was pointed out as long ago as 2004 by Laura Richards in her report for the Metropolitan Police Force. Sadly, much of this report continues to be relevant today and is why the Paladin campaign for a serial perpetrator register is so important – see https://paladinservice.co.uk/serial-perpetrator-register-and-order/
Victims are finding themselves having to investigate their own cases and obtain and preserve evidence before they will be given the time of day by the police. This would never happen for a burglary.
When we look at the types of crime that are being dealt with to the worst standards and where victims are treated with disbelief – domestic violence, stalking, rape, sexual assaults and child abuse, the factor common to all of them is that it is women who are predominantly the victims with men perpetrating the crimes.
Misogyny is why, in my view, women are still being stalked and slain by their ex partners at the same rate decade upon decade. Whilst increasing lip service may now be paid to these crimes, the brutal reality for most women is that little has actually changed.