Labour Violence against women and girls green paper

SafeLives welcomes proposals in Labour’s VAWG green paper, in particular, calls for a duty to commission sufficient specialist services for all victims of domestic abuse and to see secure long term funding for services. This is vital when we know there’s been a 90% increase in demand since the pandemic.

We also welcome Labour’s commitment to mandatory training for judges in the family court where we hear so much from survivors about the need for better understanding of the dynamics of abuse, and a duty to recognise the role of Idvas in the court process.

Yesterday, the Labour Party published their own version of a government green paper on how to end the epidemic of violence against women and girls.

SafeLives warmly welcomes this detailed, wide-ranging paper, in particular proposals:

Calling for a ‘duty to commission sufficient specialist domestic abuse services for all victims of domestic abuse.’

  • Specialist community-based domestic abuse services have a huge social value and provide life-saving support to survivors. SafeLives’ own research showed a 90% increase in demand for specialist services since the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The Government has agreed to consult on the provision of community-based domestic abuse services as part of the Victim’s Bill consultation in late summer which we hope will lead to a new duty on public authorities.  This is necessary to end the postcode lottery of support and ensure everyone can access the help they need.

‘Sustainable long-term funding for services.’

  • Investment is key. The Government has offered welcome short-term relief, but we need long term investment to ensure sustainable support for all victims, including victims who want to stay safely in their own homes, and those who do not have settled immigration status. This year’s Comprehensive Spending Review will provide a key opportunity to ensure community-based services receive a three-year settlement to continue their crucial work. Our report A Safe Fund calculated that around £1bn would be required to ensure adult victims at all risk-levels were able to access specialist services to help them to get safe and recover, while children’s provision would cost £330m, and quality-assured perpetrators’ interventions would total £680m.

Introducing ‘mandatory training for the judiciary in the family court to increase understanding of domestic abuse.’

  • Last year the Family Harms Panel report underlined the need for the judiciary in family courts to receive cultural change training and agree that this requires urgent action. Our own response to the Review suggested the need for specialist training across the whole family justice system and we are excited to be working on developing training funded by the Legal Education Foundation for lawyers who practice in family law.

We are pleased to see several other measures including:

  • Expanding ‘the use of SDVCs, including enabling the court to monitor offenders in the community.’
  • Introducing ‘a statutory duty to be placed on courts to recognise the professional role of independent advisors.’
    ‘Removing the legal aid means test for domestic abuse survivors.’
  • Ensuring ‘a woman’s immigration status could not be used against her by implementing a statutory ‘firewall’ to prevent police forces sharing immigration details of such victims with the Home Office.’
  • ‘An explicit statutory framework which makes clear the presumption – that the involvement of a parent will further a child’s welfare – does not apply when there has been evidence of domestic abuse to the child or other parent.’
  • ‘National indicators of progress.’
  • A ‘clear, strict timetable of completing outstanding actions needed to ratify the Istanbul Convention in full.’
  • ‘A specific ministerial position with oversight for rape and sexual violence survivors.’
    Ensuring ‘provisions under the Immigration Acts – including exclusion from public funds, certain types of support and assistance and the right to rent – do not apply to survivors of domestic abuse.’ ,
  • ‘Training for teachers to help identify, respond to and support child victims of domestic abuse.’

Read Labour’s Press Release 

Read the report

The funding required for a fully comprehensive domestic abuse response

A Safe Fund: cost of domestic abuse provision

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