‘(1) It is the duty of relevant public authorities in England and non-devolved relevant public authorities in Wales in the exercise of their functions to commission sufficient specialist services for all persons affected by domestic abuse regardless of status.
(2) To ensure compliance with the duty under subsection (1) public authorities must—
(a) regularly assess population and support needs changes in their area;
(b) take account of any strategy to end violence against women and girls adopted by a Minister of the Crown; and
(c) co-operate to discharge the duty.
(3) The Secretary of State may issue regulations making provision for the resolution of disputes between public authorities relating to the discharge of the duty under subsection (1).
(4) In relation to the provision of domestic abuse support as defined by section 54(2), each relevant local authority may discharge the duty under subsection (2)(a) through compliance with its obligations under section 54(1)(a).
(5) In performing the duty under subsection (1) a relevant public authority must secure sufficient specialist services for (among others) the following persons—
(a) any victim of domestic abuse aged over 18;
(b) any child aged under 18 who experiences or witnesses domestic abuse;
(c) any person aged over 18 who exhibits abusive behaviour towards another person to whom they are personally connected;
(d) any child aged under 18 who exhibits abusive behaviour towards another person to whom they are personally connected.
(6) In performing the duty under subsection (1), a relevant public authority must where necessary secure specialist services designed to meet the particular needs of a group that shares a status to ensure appropriate and effective service provision.
(7) In this section—
“abusive behaviour” is behaviour that is abusive within the definition in section 1(3).
“domestic abuse” has the meaning given by Part 1 of this Act.
“personally connected” has the meaning given in section 2 of this Act.
“relevant public authorities” are public authorities with statutory functions relevant to the provision of specialist services, including but not limited to—
(a) Ministers of the Crown and Government departments;
(b) local government in England;
(c) NHS Trusts in England;
(d) Police and Crime Commissioners;
(e) prison, police and probation services.
“status” means a status for the purpose of Article 4(3) of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, and combined forms of any such status.
“specialist services” include but are not limited to the following when provided in connection with domestic abuse, whether provided by a public authority or any other person or body—
(a) protective measures and action taken to protect persons against domestic abuse;
(b) residential accommodation, including refuge services and other relevant accommodation and support as defined in section 54(2);
(c) counselling and other support;
(d) advocacy services;
(e) access to welfare benefits;
(f) perpetrator programmes;
(g) financial support;
(h) legal services;
(j) services designed to meet the particular needs of a group that shares a status to ensure appropriate and effective service provision, including separate or single-sex services within the meaning given in Part 7 of Schedule 3 the Equality Act, and “communal accommodation” within the meaning given in paragraph 3 of Schedule 23 to the Equality Act 2010.
“victims of domestic abuse” includes—
(a) persons towards whom domestic abuse is directed and
(b) persons who are reasonably believed to be at risk of domestic abuse.’—(Jess Phillips.)
This new clause would establish a statutory duty on relevant public authorities to commission specialist support and services to all persons affected by domestic abuse. This includes refuge and community-based services; specialist services for groups with protected characteristics; services for children and young people; services for perpetrators.
Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.