(Belga) Victims of domestic violence in England and Wales will have more time to speak out, the UK justice minister said on Wednesday, keen to “restore women’s confidence in justice” after feminicides which shocked the country.
These victims will be able to report their assaults up to two years after they have occurred and no longer six months. Taking photos or videos of women breastfeeding without their consent will furthermore become an offense, punishable by up to two years in prison. These changes, applicable in England and Wales, are enshrined in two amendments to a Police, Justice and Criminal Sentences Act, which will be presented to Parliament. They are introduced a few months after several murders in public space, including that of Londoner Sarah Everard by a police officer, which sparked a wave of emotion and a flood of testimonies from women expressing their feeling of insecurity. “Beyond the headlines on these tragic cases, the scale of violence against women and girls is appalling,” Justice Minister Dominic Raab wrote in The Telegraph. “In the 12 months leading up to March 2020, 1.6 million women were victims of domestic violence, over 600,000 were sexually assaulted and nearly 900,000 were harassed. For many, the fear of being alone after dark of the night, or of being beaten in their own home, is a sad daily reality. We have to turn the situation around, “he said, wishing that the fear would pass on the side of the attackers. “Protecting women and girls, and giving them confidence in the criminal justice system, is my top priority,” said the minister. Last year, the government apologized for “dropping” for years “thousands” of rape victims, with the number of convictions at an all-time low although the number of complaints has risen sharply. The new offense he wants to create to protect breastfeeding women from voyeurism and harassment was announced after a campaign by Labor MP Stella Creasy who herself was photographed breastfeeding her baby on public transport. (Belga)