New legislative guidance on domestic violence states that domestic violence can take many forms, not just physical violence, and can include economic abuse and controlling or coercive behavior
Provide victims with easier access to support tailored to their needs and circumstances
Today, 8 July 2022, the Home Office published new statutory guidance on identifying and responding to family violence and its impact on victims.
The Statutory guidance for the Domestic Violence Act 2021 ensures that victims are supported to access first aid that meets the complexity of their needs, ensuring that the police, health practitioners and local authorities have the tools and information they need to provide tailored support to victims and survivors.
The guidance supports the implementation of the broad statutory definition of domestic violence in the Act and provides guidance to those working with victims, including the police and local authorities.
The statutory definition introduced in the Act includes a range of abuses beyond physical abuse, including controlling or coercive behaviour, emotional abuse and, for the first time, economic abuse. The Family Violence Act 2021 also recognizes children who see, hear or experience domestic violence as individual victims.
These new legislative guidelines go further to ensure that the complexity of family violence is properly understood to support a coordinated ‘whole of system’ response to support victims and survivors, including children. By establishing best practice approaches and encouraging cross-agency collaboration, a holistic response system will deliver the step changes needed to tackle this heinous crime, recognizing that everyone has a role to play in supporting victims and survivors of domestic violence.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
In order to combat this unforgivable crime, it is vital to recognize that anyone can be a victim of domestic violence and the many complex forms it can take.
This legislative guidance will explain what constitutes family violence and how the best first responders can protect and support victims, including children, and accompanies the landmark Family Violence Act, which will strengthen the response to family violence in all agencies.
The guidance was developed in collaboration with experts from domestic violence services, including working groups specializing in victims with disabilities, child victims, male victims, ethnic minority and migrant victims, and LGBT+ victims. community. This was complemented by a public consultation where people, including those with experience, and organizations shared feedback which was used to shape and inform the final guidance.
Domestic Violence Commissioner Nicole Jacobs said:
Domestic violence has a terrible impact on victims, children and society as a whole. I welcome the publication of legislative guidance which gives us a detailed outline of how we understand and improve our response to family violence.
It is vital that we all work together to tackle domestic violence and take a holistic approach to this issue, as shown by the leadership.
National Police Chiefs’ Council head of domestic violence, Assistant Commissioner Louise Rolfe, said:
We welcome this new, holistic, systemic approach to addressing domestic violence. This heinous crime requires support for all victims – women, men or children – at all levels and across all sectors. The police will continue to work hard to identify those responsible for these crimes and protect the victims and witnesses who have suffered so much from them.
Tackling domestic violence is a key priority for the police and I am pleased to see that non-physical violence is beginning to be treated with the same severity as violence. Many victims suffer traumatic control and coercion and suffer psychological, emotional and financial abuse.
This is an important step towards combating domestic violence in all its forms.
After the Act recognizes children as victims of domestic violence, there is also further guidance on the impact of domestic violence on children, as well as further information on early intervention measures in social and educational institutions.