UK: Academic claims violence against black and minority-ethnic women not seen as serious crime

المصدر: 
The Guardian
Despite the fact that there have been national guidelines introduced by the CPS in preventing violence against women, and also training for those who handle such cases, women are still being failed and the issue of victim credibility questioned.
In a letter to the Guardian on the case of Sabina Akhtar, who was murdered by her abusive husband after his bail conditions were dropped, despite repeated threats to kill her, Dr Aisha Gill of Roehampton University says that those who handled the case at the British Crown Prosecution Service must be held accountable for failing to protect young women like Sabina.
Letter: Justice denied to Sabina Akhtar

Justice in the eyes of those who were close to Sabina Akhtar will not be fully realised if lessons are not learned from this tragic case (CPS to apologise to family of woman murdered by abusive husband, 11 March). Those who handled the case at the CPS must be held accountable for failing to protect young women like Sabina. We need to understand why it was concluded that there was insufficient evidence to charge her husband who, after release from prison, breached his bail conditions and murdered his wife a few days later. A public inquiry is imperative and the Independent Police Complaints Commission should not procrastinate in ensuring the family get the answers they deserve. In the meantime, how many times do such cases of violence need to be reported to get a response?

This case shows that, despite repeated attacks from her husband (26 in all), violence against black and minority-ethnic women is not seen as a serious crime requiring a policy of deterrence and, concomitantly, harsh punishment for offenders. Despite the fact that there have been national guidelines introduced by the CPS in preventing violence against women, and also training for those who handle such cases, women are still being failed and the issue of victim credibility questioned. In other cases related to BME women, public confidence and trust in the system will not grow, and lessons not be learned, unless criminal justice agencies accept culpability when they make mistakes and act to rectify them. This is essential to bring real change in the efforts to save the lives of vulnerable women. In the case of Sabina Akhtar, it will come too late.

Dr Aisha Gill
Roehampton University

12 March 2009

The Guardian