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Domestic Abuse Bill requires funding to succeed

LGA calls for long-term investment in services supporting Domestic Abuse Bill

Published on 4th October 2019

The Domestic Abuse Bill must be underpinned by adequate long-term funding to ensure it is successful, local authorities have warned.

Long-term funding is required in key services including children's services and housing "in order for the Bill to have real success in tackling domestic abuse and creating consistency of services," the Local Government Association has said.

"Domestic abuse is a horrendous crime, and councils want to do all they can to tackle and prevent it. As part of our #CouncilsCan campaign, we have been calling for greater action to reduce and eventually eliminate domestic abuse, so it is positive to see the Domestic Abuse Bill being taken forward," said a statement from the LGA, which represents more than 330 councils in England.

However, the statement warned: "This legislation comes at a time when local government, and particularly children’s services, are facing unprecedented demand. Councils have worked hard to protect budgets for essential child protection services, but funding pressures have led to difficult decisions in other parts of the service, reducing vital early intervention work and leaving children and young people unable to access support until they reach breaking point."

The LGA's comments came as the Domestic Abuse Bill received its Second Reading in the House of Commons on 2 October 2019.

The statement said the LGA supports the creation of a statutory definition of domestic abuse, and the inclusion of economic abuse within this. It also welcomes the establishment of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner role.

However, the Bill requires a cross-government response incorporating health, housing and education alongside the Bill’s focus on crisis interventions and criminal justice.

"We need an equal focus on, and funding, for prevention and early intervention measures that aims to prevent domestic abuse happening in the first place," said the statement.

While it is right that the priority should be supporting victims, breaking the cycle of domestic abuse will also mean stopping perpetrators from re-offending, which requires funding and investment to be put towards evidence-based perpetrator programmes.

The LGA is calling for the key learning and best practice from Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHRs) to be shared on a national level and this learning should contribute towards the Commissioner’s Annual Report.

"With domestic abuse a factor in the majority of child protection cases, we would like to see more emphasis on how children can be supported when they have experienced domestic abuse. There must be greater investment in child and adolescent mental health services and early intervention work to mitigate the impact of adverse childhood experiences based around domestic abuse," the statement concluded.

Read the full briefing
Domestic Abuse Bill, Second Reading, House of Commons, 2 October 2019

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