Home Secretary Launches New Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan

On 30 March 2022, the Home Secretary Priti Patel launched a new Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan informed by victims and survivors which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/home-secretary-launches-new-tackling-domestic-abuse-plan.

The Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan aims to tackle perpetrators, prevent domestic abuse from happening in the first place and help all victims and survivors. It also hopes to improve the systems and processes that underpin the response to domestic abuse across society.

Charities including the Halo Project welcome the publication of the Domestic Abuse Plan, but collectively call for the Home Secretary to go further.

Yasmin Khan, Director of the Halo Project and National VAWDASV Adviser to the Welsh Government said: “I welcome the publication of the new Domestic Abuse Plan and it demonstrates some positive progress from the Government in looking at how it can build on the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 to improve the response to domestic abuse across the country, including the increase in funding for specialist services.

However, while the plan offers some welcome steps forward and cause for optimism in some cases, I hope the Government recognises that this plan is only the beginning of an ongoing conversation with the VAWG sector on how we can protect all women and girls coming forward about abuse, including those facing additional barriers such as migrant survivors.

An example of the additional barriers can be found in the report Safety Before Status, published in 2021 by Nicole Jacobs, the domestic abuse commissioner for England and Wales, who found that migrant survivors with insecure immigration status were being forced to stay with abusers or face destitution because they couldn’t get any support from the state to flee their perpetrator.

While the Home Office has committed further funding (£1.4million) to its migrant victims pilot fund with Southall Black Sisters – which can provide approximately 12 weeks’ support for 300 to 500 migrant survivors – it is still not enough to ensure that all survivors who need and deserve support can continue to access it once the pilot ends – if they managed to access it at all, given the restrictions in numbers and funds.”

Speaking at an event the Halo Project attended this week, Nicole Jacobs said that at least £6.2 million a year should be set aside until the Home Office makes long-term decisions about support. Crucially, she made it clear that, when the Home Office comes to deciding, it must ensure that support is available for all victims, regardless of their immigration status.

Yasmin Khan adds: “Above all, we need a solution that treats migrant victims as victims first. To achieve this we need to see much more funding for specialist support services that understand, safeguard and meet each individual’s needs.”

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