The Prime Minister has announced that she will directly oversee the introduction of a new law that will be aimed to tackle domestic abuse /violence.

Downing Street said that current efforts into tackling the problem were “unacceptable” and described support for victims of domestic violence as a postcode lottery across some areas of England and Wales.

There are also growing concerns that victims are being systematically let down by the legal system. The Domestic Violence and Abuse Act aims to address an inconsistency in the use of existing offences and measures.

Mrs May has a previous track record of wanting to address domestic violence. During her role as the Home Secretary for six years, she introduced the Domestic Violence Protection Orders and introduced a new offence against controlling and coercive behaviour. As Prime Minister, Mrs May said tackling such abuse is a “key priority” for the government.

Domestic abuse in figures:

Year ending March 2016

  • 8m People aged 16-59 who told Crime Survey for England and Wales they were a victim of domestic abuse.
  • Stats broken down:
  • 2m Female victims
  • 651,000 Male victims
  • 79% Did not contact police
  • 100,930 Cases resulted in prosecution

Source: Office for National Statistics

It is correct to report that domestic violence prosecutions and subsequent convictions have started to rise in recent years. However, Mrs May said “no stone will be left unturned in delivering a system that increases convictions, and works better for victims”. Given the importance of victim evidence to support prosecutions, raising public awareness in conjunction with consolidating the law is crucial.

As Practitioners that will, at some point, support those who are victims of domestic violence, this is good news. Whether supporting children and young people at risk or vulnerable adults, such measures will only aim to increase awareness and increase of front-line support services.

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