Today (Tuesday 28 April) the Home Office has announced £3.1 million will go to specialist services for children who have both been directly and indirectly affected by domestic abuse. This can include one-to-one and group counselling sessions to improve the mental health of children affected and early intervention schemes.

In the South-West, Barnado’s (national), North Somerset Council and Victim Support (national) are set to receive the funding.

Our partner, Penny Scott, who is also chair of the Family Law Committee of The Law Society says:

“Any support for the victims of domestic abuse is welcome. We know that abuse is particularly prevalent right now, with lockdown producing huge increases in calls to helplines and what seems likely to be a doubling of the average rate of domestic murders.

Domestic abuse affects everyone in a household or family where it is occurring. Children can be seriously damaged just by living with it. We are glad the government is acknowledging the problem exists, but the level of funding announced today will only be a drop in the ocean of what is needed.”

It comes as the Domestic Abuse Bill will be debated by MPs at the Bill’s second reading today.

The Domestic Abuse Bill will introduce measures to support victims and survivors of domestic abuse as well as ensure perpetrators are punished. Some of the measures included in the Bill include:

  • create a statutory definition of domestic abuse, emphasising it can be more than just physical violence;
  • establish the role of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner in law;
  • provide police with new Domestic Abuse Protection Orders and Domestic Abuse Protection Notices;
  • place a statutory duty on local authorities to provide support to victims of domestic abuse;
  • prohibit perpetrators from cross examining witnesses in family courts in England and Wales; and
  • ensure victims of domestic abuse receive special measures in criminal courts, such as allowing them to provide evidence by video link.

Detailed guidance on support available to domestic abuse victims during the pandemic can be found here.