Domestic Abuse and Hidden Harms during Lockdown

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:00 pm on 14th January 2021.

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Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 1:00 pm, 14th January 2021

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise the needs of people living with autism and other such conditions, as she always does when the opportunity presents itself. I hope that she welcomes the mental health reforms that the Government have announced this week, which will be a real step forward in us all understanding the differences between autism and Asperger’s, and the ways in which they are wrongly treated at this point in time under the historic legislation. I also hope that she is aware of the national strategy for disabled people, which the Prime Minister is absolutely committed to publishing. Only yesterday or the day before, in fact, I attended a meeting chaired by my hon. Friend Justin Tomlinson, to work out across Government how we can help people with disabilities, including those who live with autism.

As to the specific points on data, sadly, there is much room for improvement when it comes to the collection of data in respect of victims. I will take away my right hon. Friend’s specific question, because I am very clear in my mind as to how those health conditions can make a person more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, and ensuring that disabled victims of domestic abuse are better looked after will be part of our work. I will draw upon her advice and wisdom in this respect, because we want to be clear that no matter what health conditions and disabilities people are living with, they should not be victims of these terrible crimes.