New Clause 15 - Children as victims of domestic abuse

Part of Domestic Abuse Bill – in the House of Commons at 8:45 pm on 6th July 2020.

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Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women 8:45 pm, 6th July 2020

The hon. Lady has rather set out the problem we have, which is measuring the number of women. She will know that we already help around 2,500 women under the DDVC. She will also be aware that, alongside the pilot project, we have the tampon tax funding, which is continuing. I very much see the two schemes running in tandem.

The hon. Member for Edinburgh West has tabled new clause 27, which concerns the firewall. She will know that the police are facing a super-complaint relating to police data sharing for immigration purposes and that there is a judicial review outstanding. Obviously, we have to wait for those cases, but in the meantime we are working with the National Police Chiefs’ Council to ensure that the guidance it issues does the job that is required, so I ask her not to press the new clause.

Members across the House dealt with new clause 23. We all want to support domestic abuse victims and their children, regardless of where they reside. We must, however, ensure that any new statutory duties are properly considered, costed and robust. The new duty on tier 1 local authorities in part 4 of the Bill is the product of extensive consultation and engagement with local authorities and sector organisations. The same cannot be said of new clause 23. The Government are committed to gathering this evidence, and I am grateful to the domestic abuse commissioner for agreeing to lead an in-depth investigation on this. We have to be able to understand where services are and are not provided, to identify best practice and to consult fully with our charities, local authorities and other important parties before considering any statutory commitments. Any new duty must also be properly costed, taking into account existing provision. We expect the commissioner to set out her recommendations in a report under clause 7, and as those who have been following closely will know, we and others will then have 56 days in which to respond. We will act on this, and we will respond promptly.