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Victims of Domestic Abuse: Support

Volume 701: debated on Monday 18 October 2021

I would like to associate myself with the comments made by my ministerial colleagues on the sad loss of our dear colleagues.

Supporting victims of domestic abuse is a Government priority. Building on the landmark Domestic Abuse Act 2021 and the tackling violence against women and girls strategy, published this year, we will also publish a dedicated domestic abuse strategy, which will drive action to prevent offending, support victims, relentlessly pursue perpetrators and strengthen the system as a whole.

May I place on the record, on my behalf and that of my Meon Valley constituents, our deep and utter shock at the death of Sir David Amess, and also that of James Brokenshire? I pass on their deepest condolences to the families, constituents and many friends here and outside Westminster.

Over the past year, 26,785 domestic abuse offences were recorded in Hampshire, with a 14% year-on-year increase in the first period of lockdown. Will my hon. Friend continue her support for the police and crime commissioners, such as Donna Jones in Hampshire, who are tackling this dreadful crime as a priority?

I thank Donna Jones for the way that she has prioritised domestic abuse, backed by an uplift in the Hampshire police funding settlement. I assure my hon. Friend that we will work closely with policing colleagues, including police and crime commissioners, and the new police lead for tackling violence against women and girls, Maggie Blyth, to drive forward improvements in the police response to such crimes. Furthermore, we will publish a refreshed national statement of expectations on violence against women and girls to support local commissioners, including PCCs, in the commissioning of effective services.

Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of their gender, age, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, sexuality or background, but how many men have been subjected to domestic abuse and what is offered to them that is different from what is offered to women?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right that men and boys can be victims of domestic abuse and, indeed, the other crimes that fall under the umbrella of what we call violence against women and girls. For the year ending March 2020, the crime survey of England and Wales estimated that 757,000 men experienced domestic abuse—that is approximately seven men in every 100.[Official Report, 1 November 2021, Vol. 702, c. 4MC.] We did a lot of work to publish the first ever cross-Government male victims position statement to strengthen our response; we need to refresh that statement. We also fund the Men’s Advice Line, which is run by Respect, to provide specialist support to victims.