Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, responds to the final report of the Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill.
“Tackling domestic abuse is an issue that councils take very seriously which is why we support further measures to improve work with local partners to help support more victims and stop this horrendous crime.
We support a greater focus on prevention and early intervention work to tackle the root causes of domestic abuse, including help from teachers and healthcare professionals, and we are pleased that the committee has asked government to provide clarity on how non-accommodation based support services will be provided and funded.
The Bill also needs to address child victims of domestic abuse and we support the recommendation for a review on how to address domestic abuse in relationships between those aged under 16, including age-appropriate consequences for perpetrators.
“The ability of councils to fund services for victims is limited by significant pressures on their budgets, with local authorities increasingly being forced to prioritise spending for those at immediate risk of harm, rather than on vital earlier support services and prevention schemes which help stop domestic abuse occurring in the first place.
“With local government facing an £8 billion funding gap by 2025, any legislative changes in this Bill must be matched with adequate resources and funding.”
Notes for editors
Councils in England face an overall funding gap of £8 billion by 2025. The LGA’s #CouncilsCan campaign aims to influence the forthcoming Spending Review and highlight the growing risk to vital local services if the Government does not take action to secure the financial sustainability of councils.
#CouncilsCan: Spending Review 2019
With the right funding and powers, councils can continue to lead local areas, improve residents’ lives, reduce demand for public services and save money for the taxpayer. Securing the financial sustainability of local services must be the top priority for the Spending Review.