Respect welcomes the DA Bill, including the new definition of Domestic Abuse and improvements to court arrangements for victims. However, we think that a strategic approach to perpetrators is missing. It is simply impossible to prevent or end domestic abuse without responding to the people causing the harm.
We are supporting a number of amendments from colleagues across the Violence Against Women sector, these are detailed in this joint recommendations document.
The following are our priority amendments:
1. Quality assurance to ensure judge-mandated programmes do no harm: We are proposing an amendment to ensure that interventions required as a result of the new DAPO, such as behaviour change programmes ordered by judges, meet a minimum quality standard. This amendment will require the Home Secretary to publish standards (separately from the Bill) which providers of perpetrator programmes must meet. Such standards already exist – not least in the form of Respect’s own standards - and could form the backbone of the Home Secretary’s guidance. Read more.
2. Statutory duty to provide services: We support Barnardo’s amendment calling for a widened statutory duty on public bodies, with the requisite funding, to provide services to victims of domestic abuse, including children and suitable specialist perpetrator responses. Read more.
Drive, our project with SafeLives and Social Finance, has produced a bill briefing on these amendments available here.