Rape and domestic abuse are devastating crimes and it is essential that victims have the confidence to report to the police and receive the support they need for themselves and their children.
To this end, in 2021-22 the Government is providing approximately £151 million to victim and witness support services, which includes an extra £51 million to increase support for rape and domestic abuse victims. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is additionally providing £125 million to provide victims of domestic abuse, including their children, support within safe accommodation.
We understand the adverse impact experiencing domestic abuse can have on children. That is why the Domestic Abuse Act (2021) recognises children as victims of domestic abuse where they see, hear, or experience its effects. The Home Office has also provided £3 million in the past year to services providing emotional and therapeutic support to children experiencing domestic abuse.
One of the key principles of the legislation which underpins the UK’s child protection system is that children are best looked after within their families and that families should be supported to help keep them together. As a last resort, local authorities can apply to the courts for a care or supervision order where the child is suffering, or is at risk of suffering, significant harm. In making their decisions, the courts must be satisfied that the threshold for significant harm has been met and that taking the child from his or her family’s care will be in the child’s best interests.
We are also continuing to deliver commitments made in response to the Ministry of Justice’s Expert Panel on Harm in the Family Courts report.