Domestic Abuse during the Coronavirus Pandemic

As the MP for Penrith and The Border, I am doing everything I can in Westminster and Cumbria to address the concerns of my constituents on issues that are coming to light during this crisis.  I am feeding in requests to Government for support and help for all areas of our economy and community and will continue to do so. Equally, I am feeding in to Government regularly and pushing for more flexibility and breadth in the very welcome support schemes that the Government has introduced during this crisis.

I welcome the introduction of the Domestic Abuse Bill to Parliament. The Bill will create a legal definition of domestic abuse to provide clarity that domestic abuse can be financial, verbal and emotional as well as physical and sexual and that critically it is about patterns of abuse over time. Measures in the Bill also include the introduction of new Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and Domestic Abuse Protection Orders to further protect victims and place restrictions on the actions of offenders. 

A Domestic Abuse Commissioner has also been appointed to stand up for victims and survivors; raise public awareness; monitor the response of local authorities, the justice system and other statutory agencies; and hold them to account in tackling domestic abuse..

It is vital to emphasise that social distancing does not prevent people from leaving their homes in search of a place of safety if they live in an abusive household. I welcome the fact that the Government and the new Domestic Abuse Commissioner are working closely to ensure charities on the frontline receive a share of the Government's £750 charitable support package. In addition, £2 million has been announced to provide technological support for domestic abuse services and £600,000 to allow victim helplines to remain open for longer.

A total of £76 million will also ensure that the most vulnerable in society can access the support that they require. Of this, £10 million is being provided specifically for safe accommodation. The Emergency Support Fund for Domestic Abuse Safe Accommodation will support refuge charities so that can continue to operate and they can apply to provide temporary accommodation through the £10 million fund.

I will continue to examine the Bill in detail as it progresses through Parliament and will work closely with the Government to help pass the most effective legislation. 

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me and please keep safe.

With best wishes
Neil