New measures to support domestic abuse victims

The draft Domestic Abuse Bill also proposes a new office of Domestic Abuse Commissioner, and a duty on local authorities to cooperate with the commissioner.

Other clauses seek to ensure that, where a local authority, for reasons connected with domestic abuse, grants a new secure tenancy to a social tenant, this must be a secure lifetime tenancy.

The LGA supports measures to help victims of domestic abuse but has warned that legislative changes must be properly funded.

Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “Tackling domestic abuse is an issue that councils take very seriously which is why we support further measures to improve work with local partners to help support more victims and stop this horrendous crime.

“However, the ability of councils to fund services for victims is constrained by pressures on their budgets, with local authorities increasingly being forced to prioritise spending for those at immediate risk of harm, rather than on vital earlier support services and prevention schemes that help stop domestic abuse occurring in the first place.

“With local government facing a £3.1 billion funding gap in 2019/20, any legislative changes in this bill must be matched with adequate resources and funding.”

Other measures in the bill would stop abusers cross-examining their victims in person in the family courts (and prevent victims having to cross-examine their abusers), and force perpetrators into behaviour-changing rehabilitation programmes.

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