Lords call for more focus on perpetrators of domestic abuse at second reading of Domestic Abuse Bill

Twelve members of the House of Lords came together last Tuesday to call for a Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Strategy as part of the Domestic Abuse Bill which is going through parliament. This represents an important step forward in the campaign backed by 80+ organisations and experts, for a perpetrator strategy, that can reduce the endemic levels of domestic abuse in England and Wales. 

The peers who come from a spectrum of political parties, including Baroness Bertin, Lord Farmer, Lord Rosser, Lord Brooke, Baroness Hamwee, Lord Strasburger, Baroness Watkins, Baroness Stroud, Baroness Royall, Baroness Bull, Baroness Eaton, and Lord Lytton, used their second reading speeches to call for a sustainable perpetrator strategy alongside crucial support for victims and survivors. 

Further peers added detail to what might be in such a strategy calling for the expansion of perpetrator interventions – like behaviour change programmes – pointing to evidence of their effectiveness. Others spoke of the need to do better at removing the perpetrator from the home and supporting the victim-survivor to stay safe in the home if that is their wish, and for increased multi-agency work.  

Conservative peer, Baroness Bertin, said: 

“I would also like the Government to commit to a sustainable perpetrator strategy. Our approach must be about not only quality responses after abuse, but preventing it in the first place. Until we do, the cycle of abuse will go on and on.”  

Labour peer, Lord Brooke said: 

“A start must be made in a different approach to perpetrators from what we have had before. We must be more systematic and less haphazard than we have been in the past in providing that kind of support, limited though it has been.” 

Liberal Democrat peer, Lord Strasburger, said: 

“I feel a duty, as a man, to do something to tackle the problem at source through a national perpetrator strategy to prevent repeat offending and even perhaps head off the initial crime before it happens. If we can do that, even with moderate success, we will save many victims from having to endure abuse in the first place. So, I will be supporting amendments to introduce a national perpetrator strategy to address and correct the behaviour of abusers on a long-term basis. That needs to exist alongside high-quality support for victims and an effective criminal justice system. 

Drive’s Head of Public Affairs, Policy and Communications, Veronica Oakeshott, said: 

 “We would like to thank all peers who contributed to the debate and called for a long term, sustainable plan to address the hundreds of thousands of perpetrators who harm victims including children in England and Wales each year. We know that evidence-based perpetrator interventions work – they keep victims and survivors safe – and they need to be rolled out widely across England and Wales.”