The Domestic Abuse Bill will return to Parliament tomorrow, Tuesday 28th April. Janet Dalrymple, CEO of Safer Places said “We are pleased to see the bill progressing through parliament, especially during this particularly worrying time for survivors of abuse.

The pandemic has highlighted just how many survivors are at risk of abuse and facing barriers to access support, quite clearly demonstrating the need for fully resourced and funded services. As social distancing measures restrict safe routes to support, we have seen a 1000% increase in the numbers visiting our website and we have introduced a Live Chat service. With the launch of the government’s #YouAreNotAlone campaign and domestic abuse featuring regularly on the news, public awareness of abuse is increasing. Safer Places hope the government will build on this momentum and use the bill to transform the lives of survivors and address the funding shortfalls that cause gaps in services.

The bill is a real opportunity to transform the response to domestic abuse and to ensure that everyone has access to the support that they choose. Two women a week are killed by a current or former partner – a figure that hasn’t changed for decades. So often, the narrative is to create more refuge spaces, whilst we believe that refuges are lifesaving services and should be available for when there is no other safe choice, we call for more options for survivors. There is no ‘typical victim’ and there should be more than one offer of support. We believe survivors and their families have the right and choice to avoid the double injustice of having their lives disrupted by moving homes, schools, and away from friends and family.

We call for a range of fully funded and properly resourced services that can match and keep pace with the level of risk, need and choice of all survivors and their families, especially for those currently underrepresented in services such as women facing multiple disadvantages, older people and members of the LGBTQ+, BAMER communities.

The message that domestic abuse is everyone’s business is stronger than ever. Safer Places hope the Government use the Bill to truly transform the response to domestic abuse, not just for specialist services but for all. Survivors need to be heard.”