Domestic violence 'neglected by Government'

Domestic violence is receiving "little attention" from the Government because of concentration on street crime and gun violence, it was claimed today.

It means some of the most vulnerable people in society are not being properly protected, the crime reduction charity Nacro said.

High-profile initiatives, such as Prime Minister Tony Blair's street crime scheme, have been set up while domestic violence has received far less attention, it added.

The report called for the development of better services to support women in their homes, more services for children caught up in domestic violence, and investment in education and prevention campaigns.

Underlying causes of domestic violence - such as overcrowded or poor housing, poverty and unemployment - must also be addressed, said Nacro.

Spokesman Richard Garside said: "The most vulnerable victims of violence are not always the most visible.

"Many violent crimes that are committed behind a closed door and in private have received little attention.

"We need a shift in policy away from the assumption that every form of crime has a simple policing or criminal justice solution.

"Clearly a police officer in every living room is not the answer to domestic violence."

A quarter of all violent assaults are domestic incidents and nearly 75% of female murder victims knew their killer.

Half of all rapes are also committed by victims' current partners.

Home Secretary David Blunkett last week announced a £14 million cash injection to tackle domestic violence.

A consultation paper due in the spring will look at how the law can be changed to bring wifebeaters to justice.

The latest three-year cash boost will help locally-based Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships develop strategies against domestic violence.