MAJOR steps are being taken by the Gibraltar government and police to tackle domestic abuse on the Rock.
A Command Paper will be looked at for the next six weeks after the UN Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women was held today.
To set the foundations for this campaign a Bill is being prepared to protect the victims of abuse and prosecute offenders.
One of the main purposes of the law will be to redefine the definition of domestic abuse in Gibraltar.
“The definition of abusive behaviour in the Command Paper includes violence, threats or coercive or controlling behaviour,” said the Gibraltar Government.
“This includes making a person dependent or subordinate, isolating them, controlling or regulating day-to-day activities or making the person feel frightened, humiliated, degraded, punished or intimidated.
“This behaviour includes saying something or communicating something as well as doing it (and can include failing to say or do something).
“It can be directed at a person in different ways including conduct towards property and using third parties.”
When it is passed the law will be able to condemn abusers to a maximum of 14 years in prison and allow the courts to impose protection orders for victims.
“Tackling domestic abuse is very much a priority for this Government,” said Minister for Equality and Justice Samantha Sacramento.
“The publication of this Command Paper is a landmark piece of legislation in the field of domestic abuse.”
Sacramento launched Freedom Programme training today, helping victims overcome their trauma through ‘very successful’ therapy.
Created by UK-based Pat Craven, it looks at the attitudes and beliefs of the victim and abuser in a ‘safe and friendly environment’.
“It is vital that victims of domestic abuse speak out and seek help, and that their friends and families support them in calling out their abuse,” added the minister.
“Our strategy is about victims, their families, children and finally perpetrators.”
All RGP officers have now been trained up recently to handle these attacks, mainly directed at women.
In a partnership with UK domestic abuse charity SafeLives, survivors helped officers learn how to treat victims.
A Domestic Abuse Team (DAT) and Victim Support Team (VST) have been set up within the force to specially target this form of crime.
RGP Commissioner Richard Ullger said: “Domestic abuse is an abhorrent crime and is totally unacceptable in Gibraltar or anywhere else.
“Supporting vulnerable people and victims is a key part of policing and is a commitment we have pledged to make them feel safer.
“Our specially trained officers act as a single point of contact to help victims with safety planning, access to counselling and practical help.
“They will also support them through the criminal justice process.”
Domestic abuse victims can email the RGP or call the force on 200 72500 in total confidentiality.