Urban women need confidence in police to report abuse, violence-experts

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November 19, 2014

Harassment and violence against women in cities too often go unreported because many women fear reprisals by their attackers or that authorities will not take complaints seriously, urban and gender experts said on Tuesday.

"When you survey women, safety is the major issue for women in cities," Carol Robles-Roman, head of Legal Momentum, a U.S.-based legal defence and education advocacy group, told delegates at the Trust Women Conference in London.

In New York, for example, over a two-year period 70 to 75 percent of murdered women had never reported violence against them to the police because of a lack of trust in the justice system, shame or fear, she said.

As a result of that study, the mayor's office set up family justice centres in New York, helped by a $1 million grant from the federal government, to provide support to domestic violence survivors, a simple but effective solution that contributed to a drop in murder rates, she said.