Tackling domestic abuse is a government priority. It is unacceptable and preventable, an issue which blights the lives of millions. In March 2022 the Government published the ambitious Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan which invests over £230 million of cross-Government funding into tackling this heinous crime including over £140 million for supporting victims of which £47 million will be ringfenced for community-based services to support victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence.
In March 2023, the Government announced that it was partnering with Women’s Aid Federation to trial a £300,000 ‘flexible fund’ in England and Wales in 2023/4. Payments to victims in Wales will be facilitated by Welsh Women’s Aid. Launched on 10 May, the ‘flexible fund’ will make direct cash payments of £250 to victims and survivors (£500 to those with children and/or are pregnant) to help remove barriers to leaving an abusive relationship.
Controlling or coercive behaviour does not stop at the point of separation. Indeed, it can persist and often increase as the perpetrator seeks to retain control over the victim. The Domestic Abuse Act amended the definition of ‘personally connected’ which removed the ‘living together’ requirement for the controlling or coercive behaviour offence. On 5 April 2023, the Government extended the offence of controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship to remove the co-habitation requirement (section 68). Updated guidance on controlling and coercive behaviour has also been published on GOV.UK.