Clause 7 - Establishment and conduct of reviews

Part of Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 24th June 2004.

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Photo of Dame Cheryl Gillan Dame Cheryl Gillan Shadow Minister of State (Home Office) 2:45 pm, 24th June 2004

I am delighted with the Solicitor-General's reaction to this amendment. I should say that I had no briefing from anyone for it, I made it up myself, and the imperfection of the drafting is clearly shining through. My eternal thanks go to the Clerk who helped me with the form of words to describe the educational establishments, because I was at a loss as to how to put that. I agree that the amendment is imperfect, but it has served well as a vehicle to air this matter.

The amendment is important because of the historical background. People have sometimes been

reluctant to be involved with or contribute to reviews, and I felt that the Bill ought to say that there is a duty. It is also important to recognise that domestic violence is not a class thing; it happens across all colours, races and religions, and regardless of economic standing. I was worried that we might be missing a dimension—for example, with regard to private education establishments—that could play an important role.

I was particularly struck by something that a person in my county who is involved with domestic violence cases told me. A long ongoing series of incidents came to light only when the child referred to the fact that his mother regularly ate out of a dog bowl. That was enough for that idea to stay with me. I am sure that everybody has heard such stories.

I agree that an employer will often have information that helps to solve the puzzle, and I also agree with what the Solicitor-General said about voluntary agencies. However, when I looked at the report of the debate in the other place I saw that there might be a reason for not including voluntary agencies. That is why I stuck to those two groups of organisations.

The Solicitor-General did not take up my point about the coroner. Perhaps she would like to come back to me at a later stage and in a similar fashion on that? I would be perfectly happy if we could do that.

On the understanding that we can revisit the matter on Report, and that the Solicitor-General will consider how we could draft the clause to provide a comprehensive list, particularly with regard to the mental health trusts, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.