Cindy Butts, deputy chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority and chair of the Authority's new Domestic Violence Board, said today:

"The proposals by the Sentencing Guidelines Council that those responsible for domestic violence could potentially escape custodial sentences for their brutality is a retrograde step and the Metropolitan Police Authority's new Domestic Violence Board questions the logic and justice behind the suggestion.

"We just have to look at the facts to see that domestic violence is a vicious and a repetitive crime. On average a woman is assaulted more than 30 times before seeking help and even more worrying is the fact that domestic homicide accounts for over 25% of murders in London.

"Rehabilitation classes or community orders should not be viewed as an alternative to custodial sentences - complementary perhaps, but the fact is that the individual responsible for the violence is committing a criminal act, leaving victims traumatised and vulnerable in their own homes, and we need to send out a strong message that it is simply unacceptable.

"The Authority and our partners in the Domestic Violence Board, from voluntary groups to statutory organisations know the brutal reality of domestic violence. The MPA believes that this suggestion should not be taken further."

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