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Crime: Domestic Violence

Volume 688: debated on Tuesday 16 January 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What new initiatives are planned to deal with the serious effects of domestic violence, which it is estimated costs the United Kingdom economy in excess of £23 billion a year. [HL1123]

The Government's national delivery plan for domestic violence sets out a strategic framework for tackling domestic violence, ranging from early intervention and prevention through to the rehabilitation of perpetrators and resettlement of victims.

At the heart of the plan is the development of specialist domestic violence courts (SDVCs). We have introduced a system which puts victims' needs at the heart of proceedings and created a catalyst for the better co-ordination of services locally. The programme is being rolled out successfully and 64 court systems will be in place by April 2007.

Pivotal to the success of SDVCs are independent domestic violence advisers (IDVAs). IDVAs work from the point of crisis with a victim and offer intensive support to help assure both their short term and long term safety. In 2006-07, the Government supported the development of IDVAs in all SDVC areas.

Multi-agency risk assessment conferences (MARACs) are a recently developed tool for tackling domestic violence. MARACs usually focus on high-risk victims of domestic violence by sharing information and developing responses which are tailored to the needs of individual victims and their children. A MARAC training package, based on an evaluated model in Cardiff, has been developed, and the Government have commenced the roll out of training in SDVC areas.

By working to respond effectively to reported domestic violence and reduce the impact of domestic violence, we aim to reduce the economic and social costs of domestic violence.