The government has launched a consultation on domestic abuse, in an attempt to find new and more relevant laws and tougher powers to safeguard and assist adult and child survivors. Its aim is to restructure how this social pandemic has been tackled in all spheres – for a generation.
Domestic abuse is a pandemic that occurs in faith communities, like in all groups of society. However, in these environments it is more complex as it is often found co-existing with spiritual abuse, child sexual abuse, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, and honour-based violence. Despite this tragic context, it is known that responses to domestic abuse are too often very poor with experiences of adult and child survivors compounded by the accepted norms in the institutions of worship. Those who are taking plausible measures are too few and far between.
We call on all faith communities to participate in this consultation as a way of shifting from the generally known traditions and cultures that compromise, the effectiveness of assistance offered to survivors and the appropriateness of responses towards perpetrators. It is no longer the time to impede survivors from seeking help, but to contribute to the building up of long term solutions, while being creative about use of existing human and practical resources for the benefit of survivors. Applying the law is a fundamental process in any framework for tackling domestic abuse in faith communities, promoting consistent approaches that prioritise the multi-dimensional needs of adult and child survivors.
This consultation is an opportunity to obtain further understanding on the lived experiences of survivors more comprehensively, as its examination is inclusive of wide-ranging areas of domestic abuse. Therefore in your participation, it would be important to use knowledge of contemporary and longstanding challenges in faith communities to influence how legislation can accommodate the compounded needs of survivors in faith communities – in the areas addressed.
Domestic abuse is a crime and where survivors are compassionately supported, perpetrators will be brought to justice – instead of the condoning of abusive behaviours and using tactics that harbour perpetrators in religious environments. Perpetrators are the key agents of domestic abuse, and are entirely accountable for all their behaviours, and attitudes that support this reality will assist faith communities to experience a movement in their address of domestic abuse, in time with society.
The consultation ends on 31 May 2018 at 12:15am. Participate in consultation here …
Joint Home Secretary and Justice Secretary foreword
All forms of violence and abuse are unacceptable but it is particularly shocking when it is carried out by those who are supposedly closest to the victims, and by those who profess to love the very people that they subject to terrible psychological, emotional and physical abuse. Domestic abuse impacts on victims’ everyday lives, can feel inescapable and have devastating inter-generational consequences on children.
Both women and men are victims of domestic abuse, and this consultation seeks views on how we can best support all of those affected. However, we know that a disproportionate number of victims are women, especially in the most severe cases. This is why the government’s approach to domestic abuse is framed within the Violence Against Women and Girls strategy, which has proved effective.
This Government is committed to doing everything we can to end domestic abuse. To achieve this we need to build a society that has zero tolerance towards domestic abuse and actively empowers victims, communities and professionals to confront and challenge it. We are determined to ensure victims feel safe and supported, both to seek help and to rebuild their lives.
We also want to challenge and change the attitudes that can underpin domestic abuse to prevent it from happening in the first place. To do this we need to break the silence and encourage people to talk more openly about the issue. We want to ensure that perpetrators are held responsible for their actions and are brought to justice in a way that properly recognises the devastating consequences of their behaviour. We also need to ensure all professionals have the knowledge, tools and guidance to intervene earlier to protect victims before abuse escalates, and where possible rehabilitate offenders to prevent reoffending.
Finally, we need to ensure that the response victims receive, and the action taken to punish and rehabilitate offenders, is not a postcode lottery. We know that some areas have already introduced innovative and effective programmes to both support victims and their families and prevent domestic abuse happening, but we know these approaches are not widespread enough. Our ambition is that all areas rise to the level of the best, and that services reform further and faster to meet the needs of those experiencing abuse and violence.
This consultation seeks views on a number of specific measures that we set-out in the Queen’s speech, as well as views on other steps that we can take forward through future domestic abuse legislation. But we also wholly recognise that it will take more than new laws to help victims and survivors rebuild their lives and to combat this insidious harm. The consultation accordingly also sets out, and seeks views on, the steps we can take to raise awareness, support victims, and ensure perpetrators are stopped.
We want this consultation to stimulate a national conversation on how to prevent and tackle domestic abuse. We will continue to work closely with support organisations that do excellent work supporting victims and will be holding a series of events across the country to capture as many views and experiences as possible.
We are optimistic that by working together we can better prevent, protect and support victims of domestic abuse.
The Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, Home Secretary
The Rt Hon David Gauke MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Read more …
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