The Departments of Health and Justice have announced a public consultation on a new draft Domestic and Sexual Abuse Strategy.
The launch of the consultation coincides with Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week which is the UK’s national week to raise awareness of sexual abuse and violence and to provide an opportunity for any organisation or individual to engage in dialogue.
The strategy, covering the period 2023-2030, applies to all victims, regardless of age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity and background, while also recognising that women are disproportionately affected by domestic and sexual abuse.
We want to get a broad range of views from the public to inform and help us to deliver this important piece of work.
In particular, we want to hear from those who have experienced domestic or sexual abuse, their families, as well as those who provide specialist support, to ensure their voices are heard in this strategy.
The draft strategy proposes four key pillars - partnership, prevention, support and justice.
There are also a number of key outcomes relating to:
• Providing a coordinated response to reports of abuse
• Awareness raising
• Increasing knowledge and skills about forming healthy relationships
• Early identification of domestic and sexual abuse
• Support services
• Accessing safe accommodation-based services
• Addressing abusive behaviours, holding individuals to account and enhancing victim safety; and
• increasing confidence to report abuse and ensuring justice responses are effective.
Department of Justice Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly said: “We are all too aware of the importance of tackling domestic and sexual abuse, now more than ever. As part of the consultation we are particularly keen to hear from those who have lived experience of domestic or sexual abuse, about how best we can tackle these issues going forward. We want to get views from as wide a range of people as possible, organisations that provide support to victims, frontline professionals, academics and the general public.”
Department of Health Permanent Secretary Peter May said: “For anyone who feels they are at risk of domestic or sexual abuse, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Help and support is available. The Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline is free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 0808 802 1414 or in an emergency phone the police on 999.”
The consultation runs for 12 weeks, from Tuesday 7 February, 2023, until Tuesday 2 May, 2023.
Notes to editors:
1. The consultation paper and impact assessments, as well as Easy Read and Children and Young People versions, are available on the Department of Health and Department of Justice consultation websites. Responses to the consultation should be provided through Citizen Space (https://consultations.nidirect.gov.uk/doj/domestic-and-sexual-abuse-strategy)
2. A number of online engagement events are planned:
Monday 6 March 2023 6.00pm –7.30pm
Tuesday 7 March 2023 10.30am – noon
Thursday 9 March 2023 2.00pm – 3.30pm
Tuesday 14 March 2023 2.00pm – 3.30pm
Thursday 16 March 2023 2.00pm – 3.30pm
Details of public events and how to register for these are available on the Health and Justice web pages
3. For those who need to call the police on 999 but are scared to speak, a 'silent solution' exists when dialling from a mobile to press 55 when prompted. This allows police to know it is a genuine emergency.
4. Department of Justice media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office via Email
5. Department for Health media enquiries should be directed to the Department for Health Office via Email
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