Women’s Aid responds to new amendments to the domestic abuse bill
“Following the successful campaigning by survivors and organisations, the government has announced it will support amendments to the domestic abuse bill to criminalise threats to share intimate images; non-fatal strangulation; and post-separation abuse.
Whilst these much-needed changes to the bill are welcome, we remain concerned the legislation continues to exclude migrant women from equal protection and support. This remains a significant gap in the bill that must be fixed if it is going to work for all women. We urge the government to adopt the amendments proposed by Southall Black Sisters and the Step-Up Migrant Women campaign – without these changes, migrant women will continue to face homelessness and destitution.
We also know that specialist women’s domestic abuse services continue to face a funding crisis, with funding cuts and poor commissioning decisions failing to keep them secure. We estimate that £393m is required for lifesaving refuges and community-based services in England. However next year only £165 million will be delivered. Whilst funding for working with perpetrators is important, it must never come at the expense of funding lifesaving support for survivors.
Improving access to support for homeless women experiencing domestic abuse is vital, but we remain unclear what ‘respite rooms’ are and urge the government to urgently publish further details. Women’s Aid is clear that the chancellor’s budget must deliver long-term funding for the national network of established domestic abuse services around the country.”