SCRAM Systems is proud to have contributed to the UK debate on domestic abuse this month by sending a formal response to the Home Office Consultation in advance of legislation being published.
The Prevalence of Domestic Abuse in the UK
An estimated 6.5 million adults have directly experienced domestic abuse across England and Wales, with one in four women and one in six men expected to experience it in their lifetime. In our submission, we drew particular attention to the strong—yet often downplayed—relationship between alcohol and domestic abuse, violence, and sexual assault.
According to the Office of National Statistics data, 38% of adult rape and sexual assault occurs under the influence of alcohol. These offences are predominantly carried out by someone known to the victim, often a domestic partner. Research has found that 73% of those who perpetrate domestic abuse were drinking at the time of the assault. Other studies put the figure even higher.
Can Sobriety Tags Help Address Criminal Behaviour?
While we recognise that alcohol is not a primary cause of—or an excuse for—any domestic abuse, its role cannot be ignored as a significant ‘enabler’ of domestic abuse. And, alcohol often exacerbates the seriousness of offences committed. We believe that utilisation of enforceable compulsory sobriety requirements, such as the Alcohol Abstinence Monitoring Requirement (AAMR), in conjunction with sobriety tags could better protect victims and address the core drivers of the offending behaviour. The use of sobriety tags can:
- Assist sentencers in directly addressing the core factor of the offence, therefore both rehabilitating clients and protecting victims
- Allow the client to remain in the community and continue to contribute effectively, whilst being held accountable for their actions
- Operate as a punitive and rehabilitative requirement
- Provide an opportunity to change an individual’s relationship with alcohol
- Provide an opportunity to positively affect a client’s personal relationships
- Provide for a teachable moment
- Allow for an opportunity to better manage finances through savings
We fully accept that alcohol monitoring with sobriety tags is just one potential sentencing option for the criminal justice system to address domestic abuse. Our submissions to the UK policy debate in this area seek to illustrate the important role this could play within the criminal justice system to both protect victims and enable clients to reflect upon and address their offending behaviour.
Read our submission to the Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry into domestic abuse to learn more.