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Domestic Abuse

Volume 616: debated on Monday 31 October 2016

The Government have introduced a range of new offences, including the offence of coercive or controlling behaviour. Victims who experience behaviour that stops short of serious physical violence but that amounts to extreme psychological and emotional abuse can now bring their perpetrators to justice. Every police force has published domestic abuse action plans, and new guidance and training has been introduced by the College of Policing.

I thank the Minister for her answer, but in same-sex relationships and in orthodox religious communities domestic violence is often under-reported. What more can be done to train police officers to support victims and encourage them to come forward?

My hon. Friend is quite right that domestic abuse can take many forms and affect all groups in society. New police domestic abuse guidance explicitly captures the fact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people may be abused by their partners in specific ways that are connected to their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Home Office is also funding the charity Galop to run a dedicated national helpline to provide emotional and practical support for LGBT people experiencing domestic abuse.

New reports suggest that nurses are three times more likely to be victims of domestic abuse than the general population. Will the Minister undertake to speak to colleagues in the Department of Health about what the NHS, as an employer, may need to do to support this group?

The Government have an absolute zero-tolerance policy for any sort of domestic abuse or violence. I will certainly take up the hon. Lady’s recommendation of speaking to my colleagues in the Department of Health to see what more we can do to prevent this awful crime from happening to our much-appreciated nurses.