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Government toughens up on combatting domestic abuse

The Westminster government is introducing a raft of measures with a focus on stopping domestic abuse before it takes place, including a requirement police forces treat violence against women and girls as a national threat.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “This means tackling these crimes will be as important as tackling threats like terrorism, serious and organised crime, and child sexual abuse.”

He also said: “[We’re] toughening up the way offenders are managed – preventing more of these crimes from happening in the first place, and bringing more perpetrators to justice.”

The eight measures are:

  • Making violence against women and girls a strategic policing requirement, thereby categorising it as a national threat.
  • Changing the law to ensure offenders with a conviction of controlling or coercive behaviour and sentenced to 12 months or more imprisonment, or a suspended sentence, are automatically eligible to be managed by the police, prison and probation services. Those offenders will also be added to the violent and sex offender register.
  • Piloting new domestic abuse protection notices and orders from June next year in Gwent, Greater Manchester,Croydon, Bromley and Sutton (Greater London) to provide flexible, longer-term protection for victims. Courts will also have powers to require attendance on perpetrator behaviour change programmes, impose electronic monitoring and make it mandatory for offenders to notify the police of name and address changes. Breaches of any requirement will be a criminal offence.
  • Strengthening Clare’s Law by requiring police from this month to disclose information about an individual’s violent or abusive behaviour within 28 days instead of 35.
  • Developing a digital system using police data to identify individuals who are highly likely to commit domestic abuse offences.
  • Allocating £36m over the next two years for police and crime commissioners to invest in perpetrator intervention programmes which directly address abusers’ behaviour.
  • Providing up to £8.4m for specialist victim support programmes during the next two years.
  • Extending the ‘Ask for Ani’ codeword scheme to 18 jobcentre and jobs and benefit offices in a pilot scheme.

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