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On the 30th April 2019, the House of Commons Home affairs Committee published the Government response to the committee’s report on domestic abuse.

The Government responded to each of the recommendations presented to them and stated that they believe that “…to effectively collaborate and stop this social ill, a focused comprehensive programme of departmental activity focusing solely on domestic abuse will help us to achieve our priorities.”

“This response is one part of a programme of work that addresses many concerns the committee made.”

The below are a sample of some of the Governmental responses:

Women’s Aid have highlighted to the Government a considerable lack of available refuge places and as much as 90 women and 94 children are being turned away every day, from accessing crisis refuge accommodation.

The committee is requesting for a statutory obligation on local authorities across England and Wales to provide emergency refuge spaces and accommodation, through specialist services.

Regarding the welfare reform policies that were introduced, Universal Credit is given as one payment into a single household.

The Committee has requested that the Government now change this by creating split payments to be made for all couples in England and Wales; giving more autonomy for those fleeing abuse to do so with some financial support.

Further discussions by the Committee gave rise to considerations about the processes and practicalities of the Family Court processes.

The committee said:

“We urge the President of the Family Division to consider what further steps are necessary to ensure practice in the family courts fully recognises the paramount importance of the welfare of the child as set out in section 1(1) of the Children Act 1989, and the safeguards to protect children from any harm that might arise through parental contact which are set out in section 1(6) of the Act, as amended by the Children and Families Act 2014.”

The overarching Government response was that:

“More training, central guidance and national oversight is required to ensure that public sector staff dealing with members of the public can identify signs of domestic abuse, respond appropriately and know how to help victims of domestic abuse access whatever specialist support they may need.”

On the 21st May 2019, the Joint Committee will be presented with further evidence to consider the impact of the draft bill.

Our team at Ramsdens are here to assist anybody who has experienced Domestic Abuse. If you would like further advice and support in relation to domestic abuse and family matters, please contact our free Family team helpline on 08000 147720 or email family@ramsdens.co.uk to arrange a free appointment in any of our fourteen offices across Yorkshire.