Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan: £81 million pledged by the government to tackle domestic violence perpetrators over the next three years

Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan: £81 million pledged by the government to tackle domestic violence perpetrators over the next three years

The £81 million plan, announced today, commits to three years of tackling the perpetrators and supporting the survivors of domestic violence.

Today, the government has unveiled its Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan, which aims to tackle perpetrators, prevent domestic abuse from happening in the first place and help all victims and survivors.

It comes just a day after a shocking report by the Centre for Women’s Justice revealed that women who are victims of domestic violence are “unjustly criminalised” in Wales and England, with abusers sometimes directly using the criminal justice and immigration systems as a tool to exert control over their victims.

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Around 2.3 million people in Wales and England experienced domestic abuse in the last year, and around one in five homicides are related to domestic abuse, the government said. Lockdown and the pandemic escalated the number of referrals domestic abuse helplines, with calls to Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline increasing by 61% between April 2020 and February 2021.

The plan, spearheaded by Home Secretary Priti Patel, also hopes to improve the systems and processes that underpin the response to domestic abuse across society. “Domestic abuse is a devastating crime that ruins lives and tackling it is an important part of this Government’s Beating Crime Plan,” Patel said.

“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.”

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The new plan aims to deliver provisions set out in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, and 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, 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.

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.

The plan was welcomed by domestic violence charity Refuge, who told Stylist it was “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.”

However, CEO Ruth Davison called for further measures to help protect women and victims of domestic abuse.

“While the plan offers welcome steps forward, and provides cause for optimism, some of the announcements appear to reflect existing polices 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,” she said.

It also criticised the potential Domestic Abuse register plan, adding: “The onus must not be on women to ‘find out’ whether their partner has a history of abuse, but for the criminal justice response to be robust enough to ensure perpetrators are held to account.”

Stylist has contacted the Home Office for comment.

In the UK, the domestic violence helpline is 0808 2000 247. Alternatively, contact Women’s Aid or Refuge for advice and support. 

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