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Domestic Violence Services: Funding

Volume 606: debated on Thursday 25 February 2016

The Government have already announced £40 million of funding for domestic abuse services between 2016 and 2020, as well as a £2 million grant to Women’s Aid and SafeLives to support early intervention. We will shortly publish a refreshed cross-governmental violence against women and girls strategy, which will set out how we will do more still to secure long-term funding for domestic violence services and support for all victims.

I return to the question of long-term funding for domestic violence services, which is so important, having raised it in January, when the Minister said she was holding discussions with service providers. How are those discussions progressing, and when will we see an outcome? Can we know at some stage, if not now, who is involved in those discussions?

I should make it clear that central Government funding for domestic abuse services has not been cut. I want to make that clear so that there is no confusion. The issue is about locally commissioned services. The hon. and learned Gentleman is right that I have been having discussions with local commissioners and service providers, and I will issue the refreshed VAWG strategy shortly.

The Prime Minister said in January 2014 that he would ratify the Istanbul convention as soon as the UK banned forced marriages. The relevant legislation came into force in June 2014. Will the Minister explain what is now delaying the process?

There is an issue with article 44 of the Istanbul convention, which is about extraterritoriality. It is an issue regarding the devolved Administrations, of which there is more than one, as the hon. Lady will be aware. When we have clarified that point and passed the relevant primary legislation, we will ratify the Istanbul convention.