Local authority leaders have welcomed the extra funding and the prioritisation of prevention in the Government’s new plan to tackle domestic abuse.
Home secretary Priti Patel launched the Domestic Abuse Plan yesterday. It lays out a number of measures for pursuing perpetrators, prioritising prevention, and supporting victims.
‘Domestic abuse is a devastating crime that ruins lives and tackling it is an important part of this government’s Beating Crime Plan. For far too long the focus has been on what the victim might have done differently, rather than on the behaviour of the perpetrators themselves,’ said Ms Patel
‘This must now change. My Domestic Abuse Plan focuses on taking the onus off victims and making it easier for them to access the help and support they need, while taking tough action against perpetrators.’
Among the measures in the plan, there is £7.5m over three years to enable healthcare professionals to better identify, refer and support victims and survivors of domestic abuse
There is also a package of support for teachers to deliver relationship, sex, and health education curriculum to ensure children learn about healthy relationships at an early age.
The plan also aims to make it easier to access information on a partner’s or ex-partner’s previous abusive or violent offending by revising and consulting on the guidance underpinning the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme.
The National Domestic Abuse Helpline will also see its funding doubled, and there will be more funding available for the creation of 700 independent domestic violence and sexual violence advocate roles.
Minister for safeguarding Rachel Maclean said: ‘Domestic abuse causes untold harm and misery in our society. Victims and survivors endure horrific ordeals that can stay with them for the rest of their lives.
‘Every case is different, but there are a number of core principles that must drive our approach – preventing abuse, a more joined up approach, supporting victims and cracking down on those that cause harm.
‘By putting these central to our plan, we will transform our response to domestic abuse. We must all work together to stop domestic abuse.’
Responding to the announcement of the plan, vice chair of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Safer Stronger Communities Board, Cllr Mohan Iyengar said: ‘We are pleased that this Plan recognises the need for an equal focus on prevention and early intervention measures through perpetrator programmes alongside continued funding commitments for victim support services, including dedicated provisions for children experiencing domestic abuse, something which the LGA has previously called for.
‘Councils play an integral role in tackling domestic abuse and supporting the provision of services for victims, and the commitment to multi-year funding will help ensure these services are fully embedded within communities. Clarity on when and who the funding will be available to will enable it to be distributed quickly.
‘The LGA also supports the alignment of this plan with the Government’s Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy alongside the inclusion and emphasis on support for male victims of crime. This work will also need to align with the forthcoming Victims Bill and the forthcoming serious violence duty proposed in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.’