Julia Hartley-Brewer claims it's "bizarre" to suggest abuse in the home is a worse crime than abuse in public, following new sentencing guidelines.
The new guidelines mean people convicted of domestic abuse will be more likely to receive a prison sentence in England and Wales as courts are being instructed to treat offences in the home with greater severity than those that take place outside. Online abuse will also be considered in sentencing.
Julia Hartley-Brewer said "we’ve gone from a situation of [dismissing incidents as] ‘just a domestic’" to "saying it's more serious a crime.
"I’m not sure that it is because I’ve got more say over whether to leave a husband who’s punching me than whether some lunatic in the street or in the pub turns up, gets drunk and punches me.
"To argue that that is a worse crime just because it takes place within someone's home I think is a bit bizarre."
Katie Ghose, the chief executive of domestic abuse charity Women's Aid, said: "I think they’re recognising that domestic abuse isn’t a one off as we know it tends to be a repeated pattern."
Treating domestic abuse as more serious than other crimes is "not what I've understood" the new guidelines to mean, but Julia argued "that’s exactly what it says in the sentencing guidelines."
Ghose responded: "It’s really just saying 'this should always be done proportionally.'
"They're reflecting the reality of what women are telling us they're going through."
Listen to the full interview above