Home Secretary Priti Patel has recently launched a new Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan informed by victims and survivors.
The new plan aligns closely to the recent Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy and sets a clear ambition of prioritising the prevention of these awful crimes, supporting victims and pursuing perpetrators.
Some 2.3 million people in England and Wales experienced domestic abuse in the last year and around 1 in 5 homicides are related to domestic abuse. The government has already taken steps to prevent these crimes, but the new plan is set to go even further in tackling this threat, by delivering many of the provisions set out in the Domestic Abuse Act.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "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. 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."
The plan includes new measures to tackle perpetrators including:
The plan sets out key actions to prevent domestic abuse from happening in the first place. These include:
The plan aims to help all victims and survivors who have escaped from domestic abuse feel that they can get back to life as normal, with support for their health, emotional, economic and social needs. This includes:
The plan intends to improve the systems and processes that underpin the response to domestic abuse across society. This includes:
The government has also introduced new measures in our Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which will give victims of domestic abuse longer to report offences to the police, so that abusers cannot evade justice.
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.
CEO of Refuge Ruth Davison said: "Refuge is incredibly grateful to the Home Office for doubling its funding for our National Domestic Abuse Helpline. The helpline is the gateway to specialist services across the country and both saves, and changes, women’s lives. The pandemic really did underscore the need for increased funding for specialist frontline services. Refuge’s helpline saw a sharp increase in demand which, in real terms, means more women needing us than ever before."