Women’s Aid responds to the Home Affairs Committee’s report on domestic abuse
Monday 22nd October 2018
The Home Affairs Committee has published its report ‘Domestic Abuse’ ahead of the government introducing its domestic abuse bill. The report calls for the domestic abuse bill to provide national refuge funding, a new stalkers register and put an end to single Universal Credit payments. Read the full report online here.
Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:
“The domestic abuse bill is a golden opportunity to transform the lives of survivors and tackle the root causes of domestic abuse once and for all. To achieve this, the bill must reflect the reality of survivors’ experiences. We welcome the Home Affairs Committee’s call for the forthcoming bill to explicitly recognise the gendered-nature of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is overwhelming experienced by women and perpetrated by men, the underlying cause of which is gender inequality. This must be clearly recognised throughout the bill and reflected in the role of the commissioner who must be granted robust powers and resources to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls if we want to make a real difference to survivors’ lives.
“The government listened to our SOS: Save Our Services campaign by deciding to keep refuges’ housing costs in the welfare system; however, we know that domestic abuse services are still operating on uncertain, shoestring budgets. We need a sustainable funding model with national oversight to ensure that no specialist services are forced to reduce their provision or close their doors forever. We look forward to working with the government and our member services to deliver a robust system of national oversight for these life-saving services so that every survivor and her children can get the help they need, where and when they need it, to rebuild their life free from abuse.
“It is a matter of urgency that the government bans the unacceptable practice of the cross-examination of victims by abusers in the family courts. Survivors have been waiting over a year and a half since the government committed to bring this legislation forward; we need urgent legislation to address this. We welcome the report’s recommendation that all judges, magistrates and professionals involved in child contact cases in the family courts must receive training on domestic abuse, including coercive control, co-delivered by specialists like Women’s Aid. We want a family court system where survivors can access justice free from abuse and for children’s safety to be put at the heart of all decisions made by the family court.
“The domestic abuse bill has the power to create a step change in how we respond to domestic abuse by having survivors’ voices and lived experiences at its heart. By working together, government, specialist services and organisations and survivors – we can make tackling domestic abuse everyone’s business.”
If you are worried about your relationship or that of a friend or family member, you can contact the Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge, on 0808 2000 247 or visit www.womensaid.org.uk.
For more information, please contact the Women’s Aid press office: 020 7566 2511 / [email protected]