SafeLives’ response to the report of the pre-legislative committee on domestic abuse

Time to crackdown harder on abusers’ intimidatory tactics

SafeLives today welcomed the recommendations of a Joint Committee of Parliament scrutinising the new Domestic Abuse Bill. In particular, we welcome the recommendation that the Government must find the funding needed to tackle perpetrators of domestic abuse and better crackdown on their intimidatory tactics. These changes are needed alongside a full range of support for victims.

SafeLives’ research has shown that fewer than 1% of perpetrators will receive an intervention to change their behaviour, yet the Domestic Abuse Bill as it currently stands does not propose any new duty to provide perpetrator interventions. If the Government is serious about stopping domestic abuse it has to hold perpetrators of abuse to account for their actions.

The parliamentary report recommends measures that will make it harder for perpetrators to intimidate their victims in court and that the Government should find “adequate funding” for the provision of specialist interventions to challenge perpetrators.

We hope that whoever the next PM is they will continue government’s efforts to ensure perpetrators of domestic abuse are not let off the hook and indeed will raise government’s game.

These parliamentary recommendations go to the heart of what survivors have been telling us – perpetrators use the justice system – whether the family courts or criminal courts – to further control and traumatise their victims, and the Bill has to be tightened to prevent this. These changes need to come hand in hand with a comprehensive, funded perpetrator strategy.

SafeLives Chief Executive, Suzanne Jacob, OBE

The parliamentary report also calls for government clarity on issues such as how life-saving domestic violence advisers (known as Idvas) would be supported under the proposed new duty on local authorities to provide accommodation-based services. SafeLives supports this recommendation.

We welcome measures that seek to secure the future of vital refuge services, and look to ensuring the accountability of those who perpetrate abuse. However, we would like to see the full range of domestic violence services covered in the new duty as vital, community-based life-saving services, such as Idvas, are also a crucial component of support.

Deborah Cartwright-Crossley CEO of Oasis, a domestic abuse charity in Kent

SafeLives welcomes many of the parliamentary recommendations including initiatives to better protect children, who can suffer life-long effects of living in abusive households; strengthening the role, independence and budget of the DA commissioner; and giving the Cabinet Office oversight of a cross-Whitehall domestic abuse strategy.

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