Director of Public Prosecutions: ‘We are talking to faith communities on domestic abuse’

Image credit: Board of Deputies

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, has told a joint Board of Deputies and Jewish Women’s Aid event that there are now “more prosecutions and convictions for domestic abuse than ever before”.

Speaking to an International Women’s Day event entitled “Domestic Abuse: do faith communities help or hinder victims?” Ms Saunders said: “We have worked very hard with communities and faith leaders on race hatred and religious hatred and we think that it’s also a great way forward to talk to communities about domestic abuse.

She added: “We welcome the support given by Jewish Women’s Aid to those going through the justice process.”

The packed event, which was chaired by Radio 4 Woman’s Hour presenter Jane Garvey, also featured contributions from Naomi Dickson, Chief Executive of Jewish Women’s Aid; Shaista Gohir, Chair of the Muslim Women’s Network; Dr Eilidh Whiteford, Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Social Justice) and Louise Ellman MP, Deputy for the Jewish Labour Movement.

Naomi Dickson said: “There used to be a misconception that Jewish women were not affected by domestic abuse. Jewish Women’s Aid has worked across the breadth of the community with rabbis, leaders, the religious establishment and rebbitizins to change this culture.”

According to Jewish Women’s Aid, domestic abuse cases have reached ‘epidemic’ level in the Jewish community. Our expert panel tackled questions including:

  • What are the challenges that arise when a victim or perpetrator of domestic violence comes from a minority faith or ethnic community?
  • Is there more or less support for victims when they are part of a faith community?
  • What more should faith leaders be doing to combat domestic abuse in their communities?

Following the event, Board of Deputies Chief Executive Gillian Merron said: “In gathering together an exceptional panel of speakers, it made this a fascinating and important event for International Women’s Day. The quality of the discussion was exceptionally high and the speed with which the tickets were snapped up indicates that there is a huge desire for this often taboo issue to be debated openly.”

Deputy Amanda Bowman thanked the speakers at the end of the event, on behalf of the Board of Deputies Social Action Group and Women’s Group.

Photo (left to right): Louise Ellman, Naomi Dickson, Alison Saunders, Jane Garvey, Eilidh Whiteford, Shaista Gohir and Gillian Merron
Photo: Gary Perlmutter

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