26th April, 2021 8:32 am
Ministers are to pledge steps towards introducing a national register of men who harass women, saying they can create a database modelled on the sex offenders’ register within a year. A list of abusive men is part of a “perpetrators strategy” to be promised this week by Robert Buckland, the justice secretary, to persuade MPs to pass the government’s Domestic Abuse Bill.
Ministers are trying to win over backbenchers after the government rejected an amendment to create the register, which was passed by a landslide in the House of Lords last month after the outcry over the death of Sarah Everard.
The concession emerged before the bill returns to the Commons for a vote tomorrow. Unless the legislation is passed this week, it will have to be reintroduced after next month’s Queen’s Speech.
The government wants time to develop the register amid fears over the creation of a “super-database” that would hold details of the 50,000 men a year convicted of stalking, harassment and coercive control. “We need more time to look at the proposals and to come up with a model for the register that will work and doesn’t overwhelm the police,” a government source said.
“The ultimate intention is to come up with a register that includes a truly co-ordinated risk assessment and monitoring process. We also want to be able to provide accredited interventions from school age through to the criminal justice system to try and have an impact on the behaviour of men towards women and reduce offending.”
Under the proposals, police and social services would be given access to the register, which would act as a warning system when men commit certain crimes or move into local areas. It would be modelled on the sex offenders’ register, established in 1997, which holds information about those cautioned, convicted or released from prison for a sexual offence against children and adults.
Labour is preparing to table amendments to tackle violence against women and girls to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. They include a minimum seven-year sentence for rape, a statutory minimum sentence for stalking, and whole-life tariffs for those found guilty of abduction and sexual assault and murder of a stranger.
Other amendments would strengthen the law to tackle street harassment and change the law so that victims of rape and serious sexual offences can have their evidence recorded and cross- examined before trial.
David Lammy, the shadow justice secretary, said: “We all want to tackle the scourge of violence against women and girls. The government should work with us to toughen up sentences for rapists, stalkers and domestic killers, toughen the law on street harassment [and] make the justice system work for victims.”
Source: The TimesTags: abuse, domestic abuse bill, harrassment, safeguarding
Categorised in: News