Examination of Witness

Part of Domestic Abuse Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:29 am on 29th October 2019.

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Nicole Jacobs:

Without saying some of what I have said already, I think it is necessary to have the basic services on a very solid footing, in terms of the provision of funding, and to include that for all survivors, no matter whether they are disabled, LGBT or migrants. Frankly, to be the bearer of bad news, there is massive room for improvement in every direction. That would be central to my thoughts about what those levers would need to be—the levers that would enable the funding to be settled and much more stable. Later, you will hear from Jo Todd about male victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse, and I would endorse all those things.

It is not as if people who experience domestic abuse line up at the specialist service door or call. They are most likely to receive support through the nurse, the housing officer, the neighbour or the community leader. There will be a pathway to support. It is interesting to think about those levers individually. What does housing need to do? What does the criminal justice system need to do? I am a huge advocate of specialist courts so that when people access the criminal justice system for redress, the system really pays attention to them as a witness. The levers are different for different types of service and different pathways into support. I know that is not a very succinct answer, but there are many things we can do in every area that would lever support. Some would not need to be contained in the Bill; some would rightly sit in the statutory guidance alongside the Bill. An exciting aspect of this process is strengthening that guidance. I have had sight of an initial draft and was pleased to consider what this would be like and what kind of effect it would have, once it was in the statutory guidance.