Home Office publishes guidance on domestic abuse

Last year the Government passed the landmark Domestic Abuse Act, as we reported here.

The purpose of the Act is to raise awareness and understanding of domestic abuse and its impact on victims, to further improve the effectiveness of the justice system in providing protection for victims of domestic abuse and bringing perpetrators to justice, and to strengthen the support for victims of abuse and their children provided by other statutory agencies.

Amongst other provisions, the Act introduced the first statutory definition of domestic abuse; created the office of Domestic Abuse Commissioner, with powers to raise public awareness and hold both agencies and government to account in tackling domestic abuse; and introduced new protections for victims of abuse.

The Home Office has now published Statutory Guidance to go with the Act. The guidance supports the implementation of the Act’s wide-ranging statutory definition of domestic abuse, and provides advice to those working with victims, including the police and local authorities.

Specifically, the guidance sets out that domestic abuse can take many forms, not just physical violence, and can include a range of other behaviours, including controlling or coercive behaviour, emotional, and economic abuse.

The Act also recognises children who see, hear or experience domestic abuse as victims in their own right.

The Home Office says that the guidance will ensure victims are supported to access frontline support that meets the complexity of their needs, by ensuring that the police, healthcare practitioners and local authorities have the necessary tools and information to offer tailored support to victims and survivors.

The guidance will also

Commenting upon the guidance Nicole Jacobs, the new Domestic Abuse Commissioner, said:

“Domestic abuse has a horrific impact on victims, children and society more broadly. I welcome the publication of the statutory guidance which gives us a detailed blueprint for how we understand domestic abuse and how we improve our response to it.

“It’s essential that we all work together to tackle domestic abuse and take a holistic approach to this issue which the guidance helps sets out.”

This is important: victims of domestic abuse may seek help from a number of different services. It is vital that all of those services understand what is domestic abuse, recognise when it occurs, and know how best to respond.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse it is essential that you seek expert legal advice, at the earliest possible stage. We can find you an expert that works with you on our digital platform. For more information, call us on 020 3904 0506, or click here, and fill in the form.

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