On Wednesday 29 March, the Victims and Prisoners Bill received its first reading in Parliament. The Victims and Prisoners Bill attempts to strengthen support for victims of crime. Amongst other things, it introduces a duty on public bodies in local police areas to collaborate in their functions relating to certain victim support services, including domestic abuse services.
SEA, together with other organisations in the violence against women and girls sector, is calling for the Bill to provide stronger protection, by including a duty not just to collaborate but also to provide community-based support services to domestic abuse survivors, underpinned by a commitment to fund these services. These services should incorporate economic advocacy.
SEA also recommends that the Bill establishes an emergency fund for domestic abuse survivors, to enable them to escape abuse and cover their immediate costs of leaving. We were pleased to see the Government’s announcement of additional funding to support victim-survivors of domestic abuse last week, however this funding is clearly a long-term necessity – so we would like to see this established as a permanent fund. No victim should ever be in a position where she cannot escape abuse due to lack of money.
We have produced a briefing on the Bill giving more information on our calls – read it here.
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