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Suffolk MPs help ‘lifesaving’ domestic violence bill pass final reading in House of Commons

PUBLISHED: 16:29 24 February 2017

Campaigners from IC Change; SNP politician Gavin Newlands is in the centre, with Ipswich supporter Helen Taylor standing to his left. Picture: KE Januszek Photography

Campaigners from IC Change; SNP politician Gavin Newlands is in the centre, with Ipswich supporter Helen Taylor standing to his left. Picture: KE Januszek Photography

Archant

“I cannot emphasise strongly enough how important this is to Suffolk.”

These were the words of one activist from Ipswich after a treaty that promises to tackle domestic abuse against women and girls passed its final reading in the House of Commons today with an overwhelming majority of 138 in favour to one against.

Among those who supported the Istanbul Convention (IC) bill were Suffolk ministers Ben Gummer, Therese Coffey and James Cartlidge.

Helen Taylor, who is from Ipswich and is part of national campaign group IC Change, said she was delighted the “vital, lifesaving” act made it to the next stage of debate.

She added: “I cannot emphasise strongly enough how important this is to Suffolk.

“I’ll keep telling anyone who will listen that we have higher than average domestic abuse statistics here, with one in three women at risk rather than the one in four around the rest of the country.

“I will continue to urge constituents and women’s organisations to carry on raising awareness and securing support. This has to be a priority to our Government and we all have a voice.”

The bill will now go to the House of Lords and if it is approved it will require the Government to ratify the IC and legally commit the state to providing enough funding for shelters, support centres, helplines, education in schools on healthy relationships and training for professionals.

Jane Basham, director of Suffolk Rape Crisis, said: “We know from our front line work that so many women and girls still don’t have access to the services they need; that victim blaming and fear of not being believed prevents reporting and that the criminal justice system seems to conspire to allow perpetrators to walk free.

“This bill will provide a much needed structure to start to address these issues.”

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer wrote on Twitter he was “proud” to vote to help ratify the IC, which he named an “important landmark” that would boost Government accountability on future violence against women and girls progress.

The treaty is the first legal framework focussed on preventing domestic violence, protecting victims and prosecuting perpetrators.

The only MP to vote against the bill was Philip Davies, who spoke for 93 minutes trying to derail it.

Emergency services attended the scene of a car crash in Ipswich today.

A former solicitor who left the scene of a crash she caused while more than four times the drink-driving limit has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Ipswich is set to get its own high-tech version of the ‘Boris Bike’ - where cyclists can use a simple phone app to get on two wheels.

The Orwell Bridge is expected to close for the third time this winter as high winds are forecast again on Thursday morning.

Window Museum displays at Albion Wharf reflects the importance of the Ipswich barge fleet in days gone by

Today - January 16 - is Register My Appliance Day for home electricals.

Organisations in a Suffolk town are teaming up to tidy litter from their streets and help preserve the environment.

Suffolk Day will take place on Thursday, June 21, this year - we asked people in Ipswich their favourite thing about Suffolk.

A crash between a van and a car this morning has closed a rural Suffolk road.

Plans to build a new records office and heritage centre on the University of Suffolk campus near Ipswich Waterfront have been formally approved by Suffolk County Council.

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