Response to Home Affairs Select Committee report on preparedness for Covid-19

SafeLives responds to the Home Affairs Select Committee report published 27 April.

We welcome the Home Affairs Select Committee report - in particular its call for an urgent cross Government strategy and proper funding to address domestic abuse under the present circumstances.

For too long, departmental ‘pass the parcel’ has put at risk the chance for a joined up approach to supporting all family members - helping more people stay safe at home, as well as those who need to flee to a refuge, and challenging perpetrators to change. There is an opportunity right now for a pan-Government action plan and an immediate emergency package of £65m to fund specialist services who struggle to meet increased demand and the needs of adult and child victims in the next six months.

We also welcome the call for a ‘safe spaces’ scheme. People who use abusive behaviours towards their family members routinely try to close down their chances to take action and get support. A properly thought through and implemented scheme which recognises the unique additional challenges of lockdown could be vitally important. We are glad both the Westminster and Scottish Governments are seriously considering it.

Let’s not waste the opportunity of the Bill - legislation is only meaningful if it comes with a commitment to cross Government action and real investment to end abuse.

Suzanne Jacob, OBE, Chief Executive of SafeLives