Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan unveiled by Home Secretary

Around 2.3 million people in England and Wales experienced domestic abuse in the last year.

29 March 2022

Home Secretary Priti Patel is launching a new bid to tackle domestic abuse.

The Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan aims to tackle perpetrators, prevent domestic abuse from happening in the first place and help all victims and survivors.

The plan, which was unveiled on Wednesday, also hopes to improve the systems and processes that underpin the response to domestic abuse across society.

Domestic abuse
Around 2.3 million people in England and Wales experienced domestic abuse in the last year (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Around 2.3 million people in England and Wales experienced domestic abuse in the last year, and around one in five homicides are related to domestic abuse, the Government said.

The new plan aims to deliver provisions set out in the Domestic Abuse Act.

As part of measures to tackle perpetrators, Ms Patel is exploring options for a new register for domestic abusers, which could require them to report to the police when they move or open a bank account with a new partner.

Electronic tagging of people who pose a risk to women and girls is also being considered by Ms Patel, while the Home Office said there are plans to invest £75 million on directly addressing the behaviour by abusers as part of an overall £81 million package for tackling perpetrators over the next three years.

Meanwhile, the Ask for Ani codeword scheme – which allows those at risk or suffering from abuse to discreetly signal they need help – will now be piloted in Jobcentre offices across the UK.

It was launched initially in January 2021 in pharmacies.

A total of 700 Independent Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence Advocate roles will also be funded, with additional cash being given for 300 roles – which will refer and support victims and survivors – later this year.

Ms 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.”

Charities welcomed the publication of the Domestic Abuse Plan, but called for the Home Secretary to go further.

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “The NSPCC has long highlighted that children experience domestic abuse and can also be victims. In 2020 the Government amended its landmark Domestic Abuse Act to recognise this.

“We welcome the publication of the Domestic Abuse Plan, but believe this needs to go further in supporting the complex needs of child victims.

“It is essential that a proportion of the funding set aside for community-based services and support for young victims is used to train specialist practitioners to work with children. Domestic abuse can have a devastating impact on children and derail their lives, but with access to support services in the community they can recover.”

NSPCC report
The NSPCC said more needs to be done to help children (Jon Challicom/NSPCC/PA)

Refuge chief executive Ruth Davison said: “Refuge welcomes the publication of the new Domestic Abuse Plan and is pleased to see the Government looking at how it can build on the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 to improve the response to domestic abuse across the country, including by increasing funding to specialist services.

“While the plan offers welcome steps forward, and provides cause for optimism, some of the announcements appear to reflect existing policies and unfortunately don’t offer anything new.

“We hope the Government will use this plan as the start of an ongoing conversation with the sector about how to ensure women and girls are able to access the protection they need and deserve.”

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