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Government’s plans for domestic abuse do not reflect scale of the issue

ADCS President calls for ‘public health style’ response

Rachel Dickinson, President of the Association of Directors for Children's Services, has responded to the Government's consultation on support for domestic abuse victims, by calling for a different approach to the issue. She said:

"The widespread nature of this issue in terms exposure and the impact it has on the workload of professionals suggests a public health style response is the only sensible way forward. In recent years we have moved away from thinking about domestic abuse as a private family matter or a police matter to treating it, rightly in my view, as a serious safeguarding concern. Experiencing parental conflict and domestic abuse can have a lifelong impact on children and young people's mental health, their educational attainment and the success of their own future relationships. Concerted action – and funding – is needed to ensure they can access emotional, psychological and practical support when and where it is required to break generational cycles of trauma and abuse."

While welcoming the Government's renewed focus on domestic abuse, she added:

"[T]he government's plans, and the accompanying £20 million funding package, do not reflect the scale, reach or severity of this issue. The Draft Domestic Abuse Bill seeks to increase reporting but the necessary support services for perpetrators, victims and their families are lacking or absent after a decade of austerity, and the drivers of abusive behaviours largely overlooked.

"A collaborative, cross-government strategy for tackling domestic abuse is urgently required. This should seek to raise awareness, enable more effective identification and provision of support at the earliest possible opportunity and, crucially, prevent domestic abuse taking place. A national public service campaign to tackle public attitudes whilst deterring perpetrators is overdue and should be at the heart of a public health approach to turn the tide on this silent epidemic."

For Rachel Dickinson's full comments, click here.