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Government Plans for a Domestic Abuse Commissioner

05 Decwestminster by day

One of the proposals in the government’s Domestic Abuse Bill is to introduce a Domestic Abuse Commissioner. The idea was included in a consultation, in which all the aspects of the Bill were scrutinised, and over two thirds of respondents were supportive of a Commissioner being introduced. The government has now started the search for the right person to fill this role.

The Role of Commissioner

The Commissioner will work to support victims and survivors of domestic abuse, ensuring that good practice is being carried out by organisations across the country. Part of the Commissioner’s role will be to highlight these areas of good practice to the government, whilst feeding back areas in which there is room for improvement. The Commissioner will provide recommendations to public bodies, including national and local government, resulting in an improved response to domestic abuse.

Our Chief Executive, Mandy Proctor, spoke to the Eastern Daily Press about the introduction of a Commissioner in July 2017:

“The proposal of a Domestic Abuse Commissioner is a real positive and would improve conviction rates and ensure cases are followed up to give greater protection for the victim. The occupant of this role would ensure that good practice is being carried out as well as setting a minimum standard for the police and justice system to abide by.”

In an article posted in March of this year, Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the charity Women’s Aid, said:

“The proposed Domestic Abuse Commissioner is a real opportunity to tackle the current post-code lottery of support available for survivors. The Commissioner must be granted robust powers and resources so that they can monitor levels and quality of service provision and hold all agencies to account to ensure that every survivor gets earlier, more effective support, as well as shine light on all forms of violence against women and girls.”

Next Steps

The Commissioner will only be appointed once the Domestic Abuse Bill has passed through parliament. We are still awaiting the full outcome of the consultation which closed back in May. Brexit has been the primary focus in parliament of late and will probably dominate in the coming months, meaning that it may not be until Spring 2019 that we start to see some progress. It is important that the proposals in the Domestic Abuse Bill are implemented swiftly, as it is an issue that cannot afford to wait too long.

While we await the strengthened legislation and after its introduction, Leeway will continue to raise awareness of domestic abuse and the services that are available for those experiencing it. If you would like to know more about any of the services we provide, please get in touch. You can call Leeway on 0300 561 0077 or email admin@leewaynwa.org.uk.

Read more about the role of Domestic Abuse Commissioner in the full Domestic Abuse Bill consultation document (relevant information can be found in section 4B, starting on page 64).

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