It has been a terrible week for everyone in the UK who is concerned about shockingly high levels of violence against women. First, the prorogation of parliament meant that a long-awaited domestic abuse bill, placing new statutory duties on councils among other measures, fell. Then Theresa May made the appalling decision to knight the former cricketer Geoffrey Boycott in her resignation honours list. Mr Boycott was once convicted of assaulting a girlfriend, Margaret Moore, by repeatedly punching her. Mrs May, who when she was home secretary won a reputation as someone who took domestic violence seriously, has now sent a signal that hitting women is no bar to the nation’s greatest prizes.
On Thursday, figures from the Crown Prosecution Service revealed that the number of rape prosecutions in England and Wales has fallen by 32% in a year to its lowest level in a decade, despite the number of reports of rape doubling over six years to almost 60,000. Then on Friday came the news that domestic killings of adults in the UK last year reached a five-year high of 173, an increase of 32 on the previous year, with around three-quarters of the victims women.
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