To ask the Minister for Women and Equality if she will make an assessment of the responsibilities of (a) local authorities, (b) police authorities and (c) primary care trusts for (i) the protection of and (ii) provision of advice to female victims of domestic violence by male asylum-seeking partners or former partners; and if she will make a statement.
The authorities referred to are all subject to the gender equality duty and must have due regard for this when developing their services. The duty requires all public authorities when carrying out their functions to have due regard for the need to:
eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment, and promote equality of opportunity between men and women.
In regard to the (i) protection of and (ii) provision of advice to female victims of domestic violence by male asylum-seeking partners or former partners, the authorities have the following responsibilities:
The homelessness legislation in England provides one of the strongest safety nets in the world for families with children and vulnerable people who become homeless through no fault of their own.
A range of support for victims of domestic violence is available. Some victims will be accommodated in refuges, but sanctuary schemes and mainstream local authority accommodation may be an option for others. Some victims will pursue independent solutions with help and advice from support schemes as necessary.
In 2007-08 local authorities spent £64.5 million of their funding allocated through the supporting people programme on housing related support services for women at risk of domestic violence.
Police authorities have two main functions: (i) to secure an efficient and effective police force and (ii) to hold the police to account on behalf of the public.
Police authorities have three further functions: (i) to monitor the force's compliance with human rights; (ii) to co-operate with other forces and authorities; and (iii) to promote equality and diversity within the force.
The updated domestic abuse handbook and cd-rom "Responding to Domestic Abuse: a handbook for health professionals", which was published in December 2005, provides advice and guidance on how the health service can respond to all women who are victims of domestic abuse.
The advice and protection available to victims of domestic violence is dependent on their individual circumstances and needs. It is not contingent on the immigration status of their partner or former partner.