Today's Home Office related news includes coverage of the Spring Budget which contained an extra £20 million to tackle domestic violence and coverage of a new report from the Council of Europe.
New funding for tackling domestic abuse
The Guardian, Independent and Metro report that the Chancellor unveiled an extra £20 million for tackling domestic violence as part of the Budget yesterday, which coincided with International Women’s Day. The Guardian says the increase will bring the total state funding to £100 million over the course of this Parliament and notes that the Chancellor repeated the Government’s commitment to introducing a Domestic Violence and Abuse Act. Journalists interested in this funding should contact HM Treasury press office who have published a press release on Gov.UK.
The following is further information on what action the Government is taking.
- Violence affects people from all backgrounds and ages – on the street, online and at home. Every violent crime is a significant concern and this Government is taking action to tackle it.
- This Government is committed to tackling domestic and sexual abuse and has created a new offence that captures coercive and controlling behaviour and rolled out new ways of protecting the victims of domestic violence through the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme ('Clare's Law') and Domestic Violence Protection Orders.
- The Government has introduced new stalking laws and consulted on introducing a stalking protection order to offer additional protection early on for anyone who has not been in an intimate relationship with their stalker, helping those targeted by strangers, acquaintances or colleagues.
- The Government has criminalised forced marriage and breach of a Forced Marriage Protection Order; introduced FGM Protection Orders along with a new mandatory reporting duty for FGM, criminalised revenge pornography and introduced new orders to target sex offenders.
- In February 2017, the Prime Minister announced plans for a major programme of work leading towards bringing forward a Domestic Abuse and Violence Act which will look at what more can be done to improve support for victims especially in the way the law, and legal procedures, currently work for such victims.
- The volume of prosecutions for domestic abuse offences rose to 100,930 in 2015-16, the highest volume ever recorded. Rape prosecutions and convictions have also reached their highest level ever.
- Since 2004/05, the Crime Survey England and Wales (CSEW) shows the number of women aged 16 to 59 experiencing any domestic abuse in the last year has reduced from 1.71 million to 1.27 million (440,000 fewer victims and a fall of 26%) and the estimate of the number of women experiencing any domestic abuse in the last year is the lowest since the survey began.
- The latest CSEW also found that stalking can affect anyone and shatters millions of lives, with up to one in five women and one in ten men becoming victims during their lifetimes.
- The new stalking offences contained within the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 created an offence of stalking with a maximum penalty of 6 months’ imprisonment and an offence of stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distress, with a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment. There have already been more than 2,000 prosecutions under the new offences, with 1,102 in 2015 to 2016 alone.
- On top of £80 million pledged to support the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy, a further £20 million was announced in the Spring Budget - bringing the total funding to £100 million.
- A £15 million VAWG Service Transformation Fund included within this funding was open to Police and Crime Commissioners, local authorities and health commissioners to support community-based services and promote best practice. The fund encouraged commissioners to make joint bids for funding with women's charities and VAWG service providers to encourage a joined-up approach with a focus on early intervention as well as crisis response.
Counter-terror and anti-radicalisation
There is coverage in the Daily Mail of a report by the Council of Europe which claims the UK’s anti-radicalisation strategy is ‘fomenting resentment’ within Muslim communities. However, the Mail says this “flagship programme” has been credited with deterring people in the UK from travelling to join Da'esh and quotes Simon Cole, the National Police Chiefs' Council lead for Prevent, as saying the programme is "absolutely fundamental" to the UK's counter-terrorism efforts. Our statement on the report is below.
A Government spokesperson said:
Prevent is about safeguarding people who are at risk of radicalisation. Prevent does not target a specific faith or ethnic group - it deals with all forms of extremism and protects those who are targeted by terrorist recruiters.
Currently the greatest threat comes from terrorist recruiters inspired by Da'esh. Our Prevent programme reflects this threat with support for vulnerable people at risk of radicalisation by these terrorist recruiters, and we are working in partnership with British Muslim communities and civil society groups to tackle this problem.
Through Prevent thousands of people in the UK have been safeguarded from targeting by extremists and terrorist recruiters. That includes those at risk from far-right and right wing extremism, as well as those vulnerable to Islamist extremism.
Prevent is fundamentally about safeguarding people, including our children, from the risks of radicalisation and this forms part of a school's wider safeguarding remit alongside protecting children from other harms, such as drugs, gangs and physical and sexual abuse.