Domestic Abuse Commissioner welcomes new changes to Victims and Prisoners Bill at Report Stage

“I am pleased to see the return of the Victims and Prisoners Bill to parliament today. This Bill provides a monumental opportunity to improve access to support and services for victims and survivors of domestic abuse.

“I welcome the government’s support of my recommendation to require every commissioner in England to assess the needs of victims and survivors of domestic abuse in their area. For too long we’ve seen inconsistency in the response to victims of domestic abuse. Requiring local areas to consistently map support provision and need in their area will help us to identify gaps and hold decision makers to account.

“This important change to the Victims and Prisoners Bill has the potential to transform the way that services are funded, so that they are led by the needs of victims and survivors.

“However, there are still important provisions missing from this legislation. This includes ensuring that sufficient funding is made available by national government so that services can meet those needs. I want to see a National Statement by government in response to local needs assessments, which should inform sustainable investment in services. There must also be a duty on national government to meet this funding need, as well as a dedicated funding pot for services for victims and survivors who face the most significant barriers, including Deaf, disabled, LGBT+ and Black and minoritized victims and survivors.

“A firewall amendment is also needed to stop the practice of police and other statutory services reporting migrant victims and survivors of domestic abuse to immigration enforcements when they come to them for support. This measure is absolutely critical if we want to ensure justice and protection for all, not just some, victims.

“I am delighted that Sarah Champion MP will be tabling two amendments to address these gaps. One will be to introduce a firewall, and the other will be to strengthen the duty to collaborate and secure sustainable funding for domestic abuse services across every area in England.

“Another important change being introduced in the Bill is Jade’s Law which I strongly welcome. This will stop perpetrators of domestic homicide dictating decisions from prison about the child whose parent they have killed.

“I look forward to working with the government as we build on these important steps toward a future where no matter who you are, or where you are, all victims and survivors of domestic abuse will receive the support they need.”