Transforming the response to domestic abuse

Closes 31 May 2018

Equality and confidentiality statements

The draft Domestic Abuse Bill and non-legislative programme of work will focus primarily on victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse.

This Equalities Statement relates to these target populations, and covers the options discussed in the consultation document, which broadly fall under the following categories:

  • promote awareness – help put domestic abuse at the top of everyone’s agenda
  • protect and support – enhance the safety of victims and the support that they receive
  • pursue and deter – respond effectively to offenders from initial police response through to conviction and management of offenders including rehabilitation
  • Improve Performance - drive consistency and better performance in the response to domestic abuse across all geographical and sectoral areas

Equalities Duty

Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 (EA) places a duty on Ministers and the Department, when exercising their functions, to have ‘due regard’ to the need to:

  1. Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other prohibited conduct under the EA
  2. Advance equality of opportunity between different groups (those who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not)
  3. Foster good relations between different groups (those who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not)

In line with our responsibilities under the EA we have paid early consideration to the 9 protected characteristics of the target groups:

  1. race
  2. sex
  3. age
  4. disability
  5. sexual orientation
  6. religion or belief
  7. pregnancy and maternity
  8. gender reassignment
  9. marriage/civil partnership

Under our statutory obligations, the impact of the final proposals on the nine protected characteristics will be considered where data is available.

We encourage respondents to the consultation to highlight any equality issues and point to any further available data and evidence.

The equalities evidence gathered through this consultation will then be taken into account when developing final policy proposals.

Equality considerations

Direct discrimination

We believe the proposals are not directly discriminatory within the meaning of the EA Act as they apply equally to all domestic abuse victims and perpetrators irrespective of whether or not they have a protected characteristic – we do not consider that the proposals would result in people being treated less favourably because of the protected characteristic.

Indirect discrimination

There is limited data on the protected characteristics of the target populations (particularly for perpetrators of domestic abuse). Our initial assessment of the data suggests that the potential options may disproportionately impact on:

  • victims with the following protected characteristics – sex (female), age (younger people), people of sexual orientation (gay, lesbian and bisexual people), and marital status (adults separated or divorced, or single women)[1],[2],[3]
  • offenders with the following protected characteristics – sex (male), age (younger people, or middle aged) and race (white)[4]

We do not, however, consider that the proposals will result in unlawful indirect discrimination for people with these protected characteristics. Even if it were established that in some cases these effects constituted a particular disadvantage, implementation of the reforms represents a proportionate response to ensuring effective enforcement and contributes to providing more protection for victims of domestic abuse.

Harassment and victimisation

We do not consider there to be a risk of harassment or victimisation as a result of the potential options in the consultation document.

Advancing equality of opportunity

Consideration has been given to how these proposals impact on the duty to advance equality of opportunity by meeting the needs of domestic abuse victims and offenders with a particular characteristic, where those needs are different from the needs of those who do not share that particular characteristic.

While the potential options outlined in the consultation document may indirectly disproportionately impact on certain protected characteristics (please see above), the options should advance equality of opportunity because they cover all domestic abuse victims and perpetrators regardless of differences in their protected characteristics.

Fostering good relations

Consideration has been given to this objective that indicates it is unlikely to be of particular relevance to the proposals.


Information provided in response to this consultation, including personal information, may be published or disclosed in accordance with the access to information regimes (these are primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).

If you want the information that you provide to be treated as confidential, please be aware that, under the FOIA, there is a statutory Code of Practice with which public authorities must comply and which deals, amongst other things, with obligations of confidence. In view of this it would be helpful if you could explain to us why you regard the information you have provided as confidential.

If we receive a request for disclosure of the information we will take full account of your explanation, but we cannot give assurance that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances.

An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not, of itself, be regarded as binding on the Home Office/ Ministry of Justice. We will process your personal data in accordance with the DPA and, in the majority of circumstances, this will mean that your personal data will not be disclosed to third parties outside government, unless required to do by law.

Please do not include the names of any individuals, if you do we will remove that person’s name from your response although we will not make any other material changes. It is not possible to enter into a discussion about individual cases in the Consultation nor use it as a means of appealing against existing Court decisions but general expressions of opinion are acceptable.

Your views which you share with us by completing the Consultation may be used to inform future government policy decisions. To that end we may share your views with other government departments where the policy decision rests with that department.

Responses that are completed either online or via a formal written response will be retained for a maximum period of seven years after the close of the Consultation to allow for statistical analysis and implementation of policy decisions.


[1] ONS 2017, Statistical Bulletin: Domestic Abuse in England and Wales: year ending March 2017

[2] ONS 2017, Domestic Abuse, Sexual Assault and Stalking: findings from the year ending 2016 CSEW

[3] ONS 2016, Prevalence of intimate violence among adults aged 16 to 59, by sex and sexual identity of the victim, year ending March 2015 and year ending March 2016 Crime Survey for England and Wales

[4] CPS 2017, Violence against Women and Girls Report: Tenth Edition, 2016-17