Webinar – Public Policy Exchange – Ending Domestic Violence: Implementing the Domestic Abuse Act & Finding a Long-Term Strategy for Protection and Prevention

Tuesday, January 18th 2022 – 9:30 AM — 1:00 PM

Register your place – https://www.publicpolicyexchange.co.uk/book.php?event=MA18%E2%80%93PPE&ss=lk&tg=1

Overview

In February 2021, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs, told the Home Affairs Committee that the “tail” of the pandemic’s impact on domestic abuse would extend “well beyond” the easing of lockdown. While figures of the full impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the incidence of domestic abuse are not entirely clear currently, early indicators have shown a significant impact during the first two lockdowns in particular. For instance, between April and June 2020, there was a 65% increase in calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, when compared to the first three months of that year. While the Office for National Statistics (ONS) report that in mid-May 2020, there was a 12% increase in the number of domestic abuse cases referred to victim support. Emerging evidence also shows that there is a change in those who perpetuate the abuse – with the LSE and the Metropolitan Police showing that between April and June 2020, there was an 8.1% increase in abuse from current partners, a 17.1% increase from family members and a decline of 11.4% in abuse experienced by former partners.

Additionally, there has been a significant increase in the proportion of calls to the police from third parties, rather than survivors themselves. This may be due to the combined effect of survivors having fewer opportunities to report the abuse and neighbours having more, but improved recording by the police might also be a factor.

The Domestic Abuse Act, which received its first reading just before the first lockdown and came into force in April 2021, aims to make changes to better protect survivors of domestic abuse and strengthen measures to address the behaviour of perpetrators. The Act creates a legal definition of domestic abuse to provide clarity that domestic abuse can be financial, verbal and emotional as well as physical and sexual and that critically it is about patterns of abuse over time. Furthermore, children are explicitly recognised as victims if they witness abuse. Measures in the Act also include the introduction of new Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and Domestic Abuse Protection Orders to further protect victims and place restrictions on the actions of offenders.

Government have also issued greater support to tackle domestic abuse during the pandemic through a series of funding. In April 2020, the Home Secretary announced £2 million to “immediately bolster” domestic abuse helplines and online support – much going to service providers. In May 2020, when the Government pledged £76 million emergency funding to support vulnerable people. £25 million of this went to domestic abuse services, including £10 million to fund safe accommodation. The Government also launched a public awareness campaign, #YouAreNotAlone, aiming to reassure survivors of domestic abuse that police and specialist services remained open. In January 2021, the Government announced it had partnered with UK pharmacies to launch the ‘Ask for ANI scheme’ (Action Needed Immediately) to help survivors. Pharmacies participating are supposed to display material to let survivors know that trained staff are available to offer a safe and private space, with the option to call the police or other support services if needed.

The Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs, however has warned that “legislation won’t change things overnight, but it paves the way for a new beginning.” Organisations such as Refuge and Women’s Aid have also welcomed the Domestic Abuse Act, but stress that effective implementation and funding will be key to its success. Local authorities will play a key role in that implementation. While an amendment requiring local authorities to provide community-based services as well as accommodation-based services did not pass, local authorities are required by the bill to publish a strategy for delivering support in its area. Local authorities also face tightening budgets which could undermine the ideas set out in the Act. Furthermore the Act has been criticised for not bringing together different strategies concerning domestic abuse and violence against women and girls.

This symposium will look at the incidence and nature of domestic abuse as the UK merges from the pandemic, and discuss how the Domestic Abuse Act can best be implemented by key stakeholders.

Programme

  • Plan and implement effective intervention strategies to identify and support victims early
  • Evaluate the extent to which the passing of the Domestic Abuse Act will adequately address the complex and urgent needs of domestic abuse survivors
  • Explore the impact of the pandemic on levels of domestic abuse, and the extent to which the nature of domestic abuse may change as the pandemic subsides
  • Discuss the changing profile of abusers and what practical and policy changes should be considered
  • Understand what the Domestic Abuse Act means for local authorities and how they can effectively meet their statutory duty to deliver a strategy
  • Examine ways to address the fundamental drivers of domestic violence 
  • Analyse the inequalities which are present in current and proposed efforts to address domestic abuse, particularly with regard to migrant women
  • Discuss collaborative and partnership opportunities for various agencies and departments, including the role of Pharmacies
  • Scrutinise the current legal remedies which are in place to protect the abused and punish the abuser and their efficacy in practice 
  • Review the ways in which domestic abuse has changed in recent years, considering the effect of the internet, the increasing recognition of economic abuse, and the impact of domestic violence upon children
  • Develop effective strategies for protecting and supporting survivors of domestic abuse, from both a national and regional perspective

Who Should Attend?

  • Central Government Departments and Agencies
  • Charities and Non-Governmental Organisations
  • Children’s Specialist Safeguarding Nurse
  • Children’s Trusts and Children’s Centres
  • Children and Youth Services
  • Clinical Leads
  • Commissioning and Partnerships Manager
  • Community Midwives
  • Community Support Officers
  • Counselling Services
  • Criminal Justice Practitioners
  • Domestic Violence Co-ordinators
  • Families Services Officers
  • Health Service Professionals
  • Heads of Community Protection
  • Independent Domestic Violence Advocates
  • Independent Domestic Violence Advocates
  • Neighbourhood Managers
  • Police and security services
  • Welfare Reform Officers
  • Youth Mentors

https://www.publicpolicyexchange.co.uk/event.php?eventUID=MA18%e2%80%93PPE&ss=em&tg=1a

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