We respond to Home Office ‘Domestic abuse: draft statutory guidance framework’ consultation

Posted 16 September 2021

Date: 16 Sep 2021

Type: FSRH Consultation Responses

The Home Office is consulting on draft domestic abuse statutory guidance, which will support the implementation of the definition of domestic abuse in sections 1 to 3 of the Domestic Abuse Act.

In our response, we focus on the need for a coordinated multi-agency approach to addressing domestic abuse. This should be focused on prevention and victim / survivor support, ensuring local pathways are in place to enable timely referral into services including criminal or justice-based services.

Key points in FSRH’s response:

  • In 2015 it was estimated that approximately 195,000 women that had experienced domestic abuse in the last year encountered an SRH NHS professional. It is critical that professionals feel equipped to respond to the needs of someone who has experienced domestic abuse or sexual violence and be able to identify appropriate referral pathways. High-quality, tailored, training must be available and accessible for those working in SRH across different settings.
  • To help ensure the NHS can support demand, and appropriately respond to perpetrators, national funding must be dedicated to implementing specialist training.
  • We call on the Government to work effectively across system level (Integrated Care Systems, or ICSs) and national level to review the opportunities for streamlining care between different providers to create ‘one-stop’ holistic services. At present, fragmentation within the health service results in people being subjected to disjointed, non-holistic, disintegrated care.
  • We strongly support proposals in the guidance for a multi-agency response to domestic abuse. Local authorities must ensure that ongoing planning of intervention and support strategies involves those working in SRH.
  • Agencies should take the earliest opportunity available to consider how the behaviour of the perpetrator can be disrupted or constrained. To aid this, we call for an increase in the availability of quality-assured programmes for health professionals to refer perpetrators into, underpinned by research and evidence.
  • Commissioners of SRH services must explicitly consider domestic abuse referral pathways when engaging with local providers. Domestic Abuse Local Partnership Boards must involve those working within SRH services in the development of local needs assessments and strategies.
  • The Government must work effectively across system level (ICS) and national level (NHS) to integrate women’s health services with the aim of ensuring care is structured around the needs of the individual, not institutional silos (as put forward in our joint position on integrated commissioning).

You can read our response in full here.