Domestic abuse – consultation response

In 2018 we responded to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation on transforming the response to domestic abuse. We support Government proposals to introduce a new statutory definition of domestic abuse, increase young people’s awareness and understanding of healthy relationships and focus on the prevention of domestic abuse.

The Government's consultation is available online. Its aim is to prevent domestic abuse through four strategies: promote awareness, protect and support, pursue and deter, and improve performance. The consultation was UK-wide.

The consultation covered both adult and child victims of domestic abuse, but our response focused on child safeguarding.

Our response

  • We are pleased to support the introduction of a new statutory definition of domestic abuse, which includes economic abuse as one example of the type of victim experience.
  • We welcome health promotion campaigns aimed at young people and Personal Social Health and Economic (PSHE) education, which should address domestic abuse within secondary schools.
  • All forms of abuse have adverse impacts on children and young people. Physical violence may result in potentially life threatening injuries, but other forms of psychological and emotional abuse may also have life limiting consequences.
  • We agree that the guidance underpinning the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme should be legalised, as this will further protect victims and their children.
  • We support the proposition to establish a Domestic Abuse Commissioner post, to ensure that there is an equitable service for victims and their children and to share best practice, where interventions have been evaluated in light of outcomes.

Our recommendations

  • Domestic abuse situations for those under the age of 16 years should be dealt with under child protection procedures and criminal law.
  • The Ministry of Justice deliver public awareness campaigns in the mainstream and social media so that the public can identify abuse and refer victims to help effectively.
  • The Government should conduct analysis of what the existing barriers are that prevent victims from accessing support. Barriers may relate to: language, culture, economics or legal status.

We respond to a wide range of consultations to ensure that the College’s position, and ultimately children’s health, is represented. Members can get involved in current consultations by contacting the Health Policy team: