Search on for Commissioner to lead response on domestic abuse

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A Designate Domestic Abuse Commissioner is to be appointed to help the government transform its response to domestic abuse.

Today (Tuesday 4 December) the Home Office has announced it is launching recruitment for the new Commissioner, who will be charged with standing up for victims and survivors, providing public leadership on domestic abuse concerns and driving the response to issues.

The candidate will also give recommendations to the government and local bodies on how provisions could be improved and highlight where best practice is taking place. The Commissioner will also look at the needs of victims and survivors from minority or marginalised groups, and children affected by domestic abuse.

Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerabilities Minister Victoria Atkins said:

I am absolutely committed to transforming the response to domestic abuse to ensure victims and their loved ones who are affected by this devastating crime receive the support they need.

Having a Designate Domestic Abuse Commissioner to focus solely on domestic abuse issues will be a turning point in how we respond to this crime.

Domestic abuse is a complex and hidden crime so I am confident that the Commissioner will help shine a light on the issues.

The Designate Commissioner will be placed on a statutory footing once the Domestic Abuse Bill passes through Parliament. The position was created ahead of the Bill’s introduction to ensure the government’s response to all domestic abuse issues is as robust as possible.

The Designate Commissioner will also be required to establish an Advisory Board, composed of civil society groups, service providers, victims and experts, and a Victims and Survivors Advisory Group composed entirely of victims and survivors.

Both groups will provide expert advice and ensure that the Designate Commissioner is carrying out the job in an appropriate manner.

The role has also been designed to complement work undertaken by other advisors within government and because of the specific need to tackle domestic abuse issues. The Designate Commissioner will work collaboratively with others, such as the Victims’ Commissioner, when there are overlapping issues.

This is part of the government’s work to transform the response to domestic abuse and go further to support the 2 million people who suffer the crime each year.

The public consultation ahead of the Domestic Abuse Bill received approximately 3,200 responses.

Measures the government consulted on included:

  • plans for a statutory government definition of domestic abuse so that no one is in any doubt of the range of behaviours it entails
  • introducing new Domestic Abuse Protection Orders (DAPOs), to give courts the power to place conditions on domestic abuse perpetrators
  • putting the guidance on which the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme is based into statute

When the government held a public consultation on the creation of a commissioner as part of the Domestic Abuse Bill it was supported by two thirds of respondents.

For further information on the recruitment campaign visit the Cabinet Office website.

The Victims’ Commissioner is required to promote the interests of all victims and witnesses, encourage good practice in their treatment, and keep under review the operation of the Victims’ Code.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be put in place early next year to formalise the working relationship between these roles.

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