Women’s Aid responds: justice select committee’s report into the draft victims’ bill
This week, the justice committee published its pre-legislative scrutiny of the victim’s bill. Earlier this year, Women’s Aid and the Ministry of Justice held a roundtable with survivors, finding that survivors overwhelmingly were unaware of the rights afforded to them in the victims’ code.
Regarding the publication of the committee’s report, Farah Nazeer, chief executive at Women’s Aid, said:
“We welcome the justice select committee’s report into the draft victims’ bill, which reflects many of Women’s Aid’s concerns about the effectiveness of the legislation as it currently stands.
“The victims’ bill still puts the onus on victims to realise their rights and does not do enough to improve agencies’ compliance with the victims’ code. We also share the committee’s concerns that the bill does not go far enough to ensure that vital community-based support services, provided to domestic abuse survivors in their local areas, are readily available. We strongly urge that the bill commits to multi-year funding for these vital services – which can include counselling, outreach and advocacy support – including ring-fenced funding for services provided by and for Black and minoritised, and Deaf and disabled survivors.
“We are pleased the committee recognised Women’s Aid’s concerns about creating a statutory definition of IDVAs (independent domestic violence advocates), which could risk creating a “one size fits all approach” to vital advocacy support and neglect the variety of specialist advocacy and wraparound support that specialist services provide.
“At Women’s Aid we look forward to continuing these conversations with decision-makers to ensure all survivors of domestic abuse are effectively supported.”