The enhanced Domestic Abuse Bill, as re-introduced on 3 March, includes a new statutory duty on tier one local authorities in England to provide support to victims of domestic abuse, and their children, within safe accommodation. This new measure augmented those already in the Bill addressing the impact of domestic abuse on children. As provided for in clause 66(2)(b), the statutory guidance which will accompany the Bill will recognise the effect of domestic abuse on children. The guidance will outline the range of impacts domestic abuse can have on children, as well as appropriate support and referral mechanisms. The Bill will also establish in law, the independent Domestic Abuse Commissioner who will be required to consider the impact of domestic abuse on children, and the services available to them.
In the Government’s further response to the Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill (CP 214), also published on 3 March, we indicated that the Domestic Abuse Commissioner has agreed to undertake an in-depth exploration of the current community-based support landscape. The Government will then work with the Commissioner to understand the needs identified and develop options on how best to address them.
I can confirm that the Justice Secretary is in regular contact with his Cabinet colleagues on support for children affected by domestic abuse, including the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, as well as with leading charitable organisations working in this sector.
In addition, we know that there are specific concerns for victims of domestic abuse and their children during the COVD-19 outbreak. We are working with other Government Departments to ensure that sufficient support is in place for these victims.