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Second Reading of the Domestic Abuse Bill

Drive welcomes the Domestic Abuse Bill. There are many positive elements within it that will make a real difference to the lives of victims and survivors.

However, we would like to see financial and strategic non-legislative commitments from the government – to accompany this Bill – that effectively challenge those perpetrators who cause the nearly 600,000 recorded incidences of domestic abuse each year[1]. For far too long, perpetrators of domestic abuse have been getting away with their crimes, sometimes with multiple partners, often over a period of years.

We know that there are perpetrator interventions that work. The government needs to use the opportunity of this Bill to scale these up, as part of a broader England and Wales Perpetrator Strategy.

The pre-legislative committee on the Domestic Abuse Bill called on the government to “ensure that there is sufficient provision of quality assured specialist interventions for the full spectrum of perpetrators, across all risk levels. This will require an adequate level of funding and cooperation with expert providers.” [2] This is also required by the Istanbul Convention.[3]

The government must use the Bill to commit to developing a Perpetrator Strategy. This strategy will ensure every opportunity is taken – whether inside the criminal justice system or in the community – to challenge and prevent offending behaviour.

Read more here.

[1]ONS data available at https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/domesticabuseinenglandandwales/yearendingmarch2018

[2] Report of the Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill June 2019: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt201719/jtselect/jtddab/2075/2075.pdf

[3] The Istanbul Convention says that state parties must “Set up or support programmes aimed at teaching perpetrators of domestic violence to adopt non-violent behaviours,” accessible at https://www.coe.int/en/web/conventions/full-list/-/conventions/rms/090000168008482e