There are 2.4 million people who are victims of, or are vulnerable to, domestic abuse and violence in England and Wales, more than two thirds of which are women. For many years, services for victims and their children have been unable to meet the scale of this crime, leaving too many unable to access the support that they so desperately need. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened this situation, and it is reflected in the stark rise in domestic abuse cases, leading to a 61% surge in calls and contacts to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by the charity Refuge.
To address some of the urgent challenges, the Government introduced funding of £76m to support victims of domestic abuse through the pandemic. Furthermore, to underpin its commitment to tackling domestic abuse, the Government prioritised the passage of the Domestic Abuse Bill into law in April. The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 brought in sweeping new reforms, including expanding the definition of domestic abuse to include financial and coercive control, the introduction of Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and Orders, as well as a new statutory duty for local authorities to support and fund accommodation for victims and their children. Whilst this new legal framework is a major step forward, the events of the last year have highlighted that legislation alone is not enough to bring about the systemic change that is needed to prioritise and protect victims, improve multi-agency working and bring perpetrators to justice.
This Policy Foresight live webinar offers a timely opportunity for key partners from local authorities, police, health, housing, social care, education, criminal justice, third sector and other key statutory agencies to examine how to prevent and tackle domestic abuse after COVID-19. The webinar will explore the role of the Domestic Abuse Act in responding to and preventing domestic abuse and consider the impact of the proposed reforms in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, as well as further measures in the new Tackling Violence against Women and Girls Strategy. The webinar provides an ideal platform for participants to hear from experts and policymakers, learn from innovative best practice and share ideas with fellow participants to deliver lasting change that protects victims of domestic abuse and their children.
Latest News - 29th April 2021: Landmark Domestic Abuse Bill receives Royal Assent
Latest News - 5th July 2021: More support for victims of domestic abuse at risk of homelessness
Latest News - 11th August 2021: Police awarded £11.3m for programmes to prevent domestic abuse crimes
Latest News - 1st October 2021: New duties for councils to provide support in safe accommodation for domestic abuse victims
Latest News - 15th October 2021: Huge rise in domestic abuse cases being dropped in England and Wales
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