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Domestic Violence

Volume 639: debated on Monday 16 April 2018

The Government have put tackling domestic abuse at the heart of their agenda. We have introduced a new offence of coercive and controlling behaviour; rolled out new tools, such as domestic violence protection orders; and committed £100 million to support victims of violence against women and girls. Furthermore, on 8 March, we launched a wide-ranging consultation, and we will introduce a groundbreaking domestic abuse Bill, which will offer further support.

Domestic violence harms victims mentally as well as physically. Women who have experienced domestic abuse are far more likely to suffer from a mental health condition, as are children who have witnessed violence at home. I urge my hon. Friend to use the forthcoming domestic abuse Bill to make sure that victims of abuse and their families get the mental health support that they need.

I thank my hon. Friend for that question; she is a long-standing campaigner on mental health. We recognise that mental health can be a theme in domestic abuse situations. We are already funding a number of projects through the VAWG transformation fund. For example, we have given £377,000 to the London Borough of Southwark for therapeutic support for victims and their children with complex needs. We want to use the consultation to get the best possible deal for victims of domestic abuse and to stop the cycle of violence.

As well as putting the offences of psychological abuse and coercive control on the statute book, the Scottish Government have allocated funding to train 14,000 Police Scotland officers and staff to spot those offences in domestic abuse settings. Will the Minister commit to following that example in England and Wales?

I am delighted to hear that Scotland is doing that. New police training has been developed by the voluntary sector in England and Wales. It is called Domestic Abuse Matters and focuses on the recognition of controlling and coercive behaviour, and it is being rolled out to forces throughout the country.

The Government’s domestic abuse consultation proposes the tagging of perpetrators. The Victims’ Rights Campaign is calling for best use to be made of GPS tracking technology to warn police and victims when an offender enters a court-imposed exclusion zone. Does the Minister agree that such an alert system would provide vital security for victims and reduce reoffending?

I am extremely grateful to the hon. Lady for raising that issue. She does a great deal of work in this area. It is an interesting idea, and I know that she and others will submit it to the consultation.