Before becoming an MP, I worked to end domestic violence. I feel very strongly about this subject. I have also built up a great deal of expertise in this field, which I hope to use in the All Party Parliamentary Group on Perpetrators of Domestic Violence that I set up last week.
This week I spoke in a debate on the Serious Violence Strategy, which sets out the Government’s response to serious violence and recent increases in knife crime, gun crime and homicide. A key aim of this strategy is to catch young people early, encouraging them to make positive choices.
This is important. Education has a vital role to play in preventing all forms of violence, from gang-related knife crime to domestic violence.
Personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education which teaches respect could be transformational. And it should be compulsory, for all children, whatever their background and wherever they are at school.
In my work with perpetrators of domestic violence I have seen first-hand that education works in changing belief systems and ending controlling, violent behaviour. Unfortunately, many perpetrators only receive this education after years of violence, destroying lives and families. For these men (and some women), this training often sparks a revelation which comes tragically late. How much better it would be to teach these principles in schools – and change the course of otherwise violent lives.
Watch a clip of my speech below, or the whole speech here.