Mel B on reporting domestic abuse: I don’t know if I can trust the police
Singer Mel B has said she would not report domestic abuse as she does not know if she can “trust the police”.
The 47-year-old member of girl group Spice Girls, who is a patron of Women’s Aid and campaigns with the charity on domestic abuse issues, urged the Government to reform “the whole entire system” of justice.
She has previously spoken about being in an abusive relationship, which she claims left her without access to money or a support network.
Mel B, whose real name is Melanie Brown, told BBC Newsnight that officers need education on the “tell-tale signs” that someone is in an abusive relationship.
She said: “I wouldn’t (call the police), because I wouldn’t know if they would take it seriously.”
She added: “Like, if I’m living here and I want to report it to the police, I don’t know if I can trust the police. I don’t know if they’re going to take my allegations seriously.”
She also said: “It’s just your average person who just wants to be loved and cared for.”
The singer added that “younger and younger” people are experiencing domestic abuse including “kids as soon as they start some kind of intimate relationship”.
In her interview with broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire, she also called the issue an “epidemic” and said that the work of statisticians allowed victims to “openly talk”.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Domestic abuse is a despicable crime and one which this Government is determined to tackle. That is why the Home Secretary has recently announced a package of measures which go further than ever before in protecting women and girls from domestic violence.
“These measures include adding the most dangerous abusers to the Violent and Sex Offenders Register and requiring police forces in England and Wales to now treat violence against women and girls as a national threat, meaning more victims will be protected from here.”
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), police in England and Wales made 31.3 arrests per 100 domestic abuse reports in the year ending March 2022, a decrease from 32.6 in the previous year.
The 41 forces also referred 67,063 domestic abuse cases in 2022/2021 over a similar time period to be charged by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), a decrease compared to the year ending March 2021 which saw 77,812 cases referred.
The CPS increased its charging rate for domestic abuse cases to 72.7% in the year ending March 2022, which is the highest since March 2018 (75.9%).
According to the charity NSPCC, police in England and Wales made an average 669 child protection referrals a day to social services in 2020/21 which was an 8% increase to the same time period over the previous year.
Mel B previously called for reform of the judicial system at the Conservative Party conference in October last year.
She said the Government should do more to raise awareness of the needs of survivors of domestic abuse, including better support through the health service and the court system.
On Tuesday, Mel B told Sir Keir Starmer to make tackling domestic violence one of his “national missions” if he becomes Prime Minister while sitting alongside the Labour leader at a Women’s Aid panel.
It follows Sir Keir unveiling five missions last week to improve the nation, including securing high sustained growth and building an NHS fit for the future.
He replied he would “absolutely will make it a priority” if he is Prime Minister, but did not commit to a sixth national mission as Mel B described herself as a “big fan” and warned she would “come after” him on the issue of domestic abuse.
In May 2022, Mel B also dedicated her MBE for services to charitable causes and vulnerable women to “all the other women” who are dealing with domestic violence.
The Newsnight interview with Mel B is on BBC iPlayer and BBC Two as part of the programme which starts at 10.30pm.