Transforming the response to domestic abuse

Closes 31 May 2018

Opened 8 Mar 2018

Overview

Joint Home Secretary and Justice Secretary foreword

All forms of violence and abuse are unacceptable but it is particularly shocking when it is carried out by those who are supposedly closest to the victims, and by those who profess to love the very people that they subject to terrible psychological, emotional and physical abuse. Domestic abuse impacts on victims’ everyday lives, can feel inescapable and have devastating inter-generational consequences on children.

Both women and men are victims of domestic abuse, and this consultation seeks views on how we can best support all of those affected. However, we know that a disproportionate number of victims are women, especially in the most severe cases. This is why the government’s approach to domestic abuse is framed within the Violence Against Women and Girls strategy, which has proved effective.

This Government is committed to doing everything we can to end domestic abuse. To achieve this we need to build a society that has zero tolerance towards domestic abuse and actively empowers victims, communities and professionals to confront and challenge it. We are determined to ensure victims feel safe and supported, both to seek help and to rebuild their lives.

We also want to challenge and change the attitudes that can underpin domestic abuse to prevent it from happening in the first place. To do this we need to break the silence and encourage people to talk more openly about the issue. We want to ensure that perpetrators are held responsible for their actions and are brought to justice in a way that properly recognises the devastating consequences of their behaviour. We also need to ensure all professionals have the knowledge, tools and guidance to intervene earlier to protect victims before abuse escalates, and where possible rehabilitate offenders to prevent reoffending.

Finally, we need to ensure that the response victims receive, and the action taken to punish and rehabilitate offenders, is not a postcode lottery. We know that some areas have already introduced innovative and effective programmes to both support victims and their families and prevent domestic abuse happening, but we know these approaches are not widespread enough. Our ambition is that all areas rise to the level of the best, and that services reform further and faster to meet the needs of those experiencing abuse and violence.

This consultation seeks views on a number of specific measures that we set-out in the Queen’s speech, as well as views on other steps that we can take forward through future domestic abuse legislation. But we also wholly recognise that it will take more than new laws to help victims and survivors rebuild their lives and to combat this insidious harm. The consultation accordingly also sets out, and seeks views on, the steps we can take to raise awareness, support victims, and ensure perpetrators are stopped.

We want this consultation to stimulate a national conversation on how to prevent and tackle domestic abuse. We will continue to work closely with support organisations that do excellent work supporting victims and will be holding a series of events across the country to capture as many views and experiences as possible.

We are optimistic that by working together we can better prevent, protect and support victims of domestic abuse.

The Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP                     The Rt Hon David Gauke MP
       Home Secretary                                                    Lord Chancellor and 
                                                                                      Secretary of State for Justice

Why We Are Consulting

This consultation seeks to address domestic abuse at every stage from prevention through to rehabilitation. It references the connections and provisions of cross-sector agencies and departments and reinforces the Government’s aim to make domestic abuse everyone’s business.

By consulting we aim to harness the knowledge and expertise of victims and survivors, support organisations and research experts. We are also interested in the views of professionals across policing, criminal justice, health, welfare, education and local authorities who deal with these issues everyday.

Our main aim through this work is to prevent domestic abuse by challenging the acceptability of abuse and addressing the underlying attitudes and norms that perpetuate it. This consultation asks questions under four main themes with the central aim of prevention running through each.

  • Promote awareness – to put domestic abuse at the top of everyone’s agenda, and raise public and professionals’ awareness.
  • Protect and support – to enhance the safety of victims and the support that they receive.
  • Pursue and deter – to provide an effective response to perpetrators from initial agency  response through to conviction and management of offenders, including rehabilitation.
  • Improve Performance – to drive consistency and better performance in the response to domestic abuse across all local areas, agencies and sectors.

For each of these themes we will outline the current position and identify any potential areas where we think we could do more. These areas will be at different stages of development, and the accompanying questions will reflect this. In some instances we will ask for feedback on specific proposals, whilst in others we may ask for evidence or experiences to further understand the problem.

The consultation includes some topics which are complex and/or technical.

We do not expect every respondent to answer every question and ask that you only answer those relevant to your experience or your expertise.

Give us your views

Audiences

  • Citizens
  • Voluntary organisations
  • Local authorities
  • Young people
  • Charities
  • Voluntary organisations
  • Government departments
  • Legal professionals

Interests

  • Family justice