The government has announced a new plan, which aims to tackle domestic violence and provide help for those in need of support. Here we discuss the realities of domestic abuse in the UK, and how the government’s new plan aims to make a change.
2.3 million people in England and Wales experienced domestic abuse in the last year and around one in five homicides are related to domestic abuse. As a result of this, The Home Secretary, Priti Patel has launched a new Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan which is informed by victims and survivors.
The plan includes new measures to tackle perpetrators including:
- options for creating a new register for domestic abusers which could require perpetrators to take actions such as reporting to the police when changing address or opening a bank account with a new partner;
- increasing electronic tagging.
The plan sets out key actions to prevent domestic abuse from happening in the first place. These include:
- a package of support for teachers to deliver the relationship, sex, and health education curriculum to ensure children learn about healthy relationships at an early age;
- making it easier to access information on a partner’s or ex-partner’s previous abusive or violent offending;
- working with the National Police Chiefs’ Council to review police forces which record the highest rates of domestic homicide and serious domestic abuse crimes.
To help all victims and survivors, the plan includes:
- a doubling of funding for the National Domestic Abuse Helpline;
- a commitment to reviewing the statutory leave laws for victims of domestic abuse;
- funding 700 independent domestic violence and sexual violence advocate roles with additional funding for 300 roles later this year to refer and support victims and survivors.
The plan intends to improve the systems and processes that underpin the response to domestic abuse. This includes:
- the expansion of the successful Ask for Ani codeword scheme to be piloted in Jobcentre offices across the UK;
- £7.5 million over three years to enable healthcare professionals to better identify, refer and support victims and survivors of domestic abuse;
- more work to support police to help identify and reduce the risks of suicide in cases involving domestic abuse.
Why do You Need a Specialist Abuse Solicitor?
When taking legal action for Sexual and Physical Abuse it is important that you choose a specialist Abuse Solicitor.
Domestic Abuse and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
In addition, victims of domestic abuse may also be able to make a compensation claim as a result of the abuse. The Criminal Injuries Scheme is a government-funded scheme set up to compensate victims of violent crime including physical abuse, sexual abuse and sometimes emotional/psychological abuse. To make an Abuse Claim for compensation, your abuse must have been reported to the police. Read more about this in our article: Criminal Injury Compensation Payouts for Abuse Explained
Domestic abuse can happen to males as well as females. According to the Office for National Statistics, one in three victims of domestic abuse each year are men. Despite this, the level of awareness around domestic abuse towards men remains relatively low.
Recently in the news was the case of a man killed by his girlfriend. Paul Lavelle, 50, was attacked by his partner, Sarah Lewis, with the shard of a broken dinner plate while at home in May 2017. Following the murder, Paul Gladwell, a friend of Mr Lavelle’s told the Liverpool Echo: “We asked the question as to why he didn’t tell us what was going on.
"We found out later on that it wasn’t an isolated incident, so we started wanting to raise awareness and getting men to speak out about being abused.”
It is sadly common for survivors of any kind of abuse to keep it to themselves for the fear of repercussions. For anyone that has experienced abuse, we understand that it can be difficult to speak up. In a recent article, we discussed a new UK law that means domestic abuse survivors could get more time to report domestic abuse, where you can learn more on time limits for domestic abuse claims.
Can I Make a Claim if a Family Member has Been Killed Because of Domestic Abuse?
If a person has died as a result of being an innocent victim of a violent crime it is possible for a qualifying relative to make a claim under the Criminal Injuries Scheme.
Who is a Qualifying Relative?
A qualifying relative is:
- a spouse or civil partner who was living with the person who has died in the same household;
- the partner of the person who has died who was living in the same household for at least two years prior to their death;
- a person who is a spouse, civil partner or partner who was unable to live with the person who had died due to ill health or infirmity;
- the spouse, civil partner or former spouse who was financially dependent on the person who has died;
- a parent;
- a child.
What Compensation Will be Paid by the CICA?
A bereavement payment will be paid to a qualifying relative in the sum of £11,000. Where there is more than one qualifying relative each person will receive £5,500.
A child’s payment will be paid if the child/children of the person who has died were under 18 and dependent on parental services. Payments will be calculated based on the persons date of death and the child/children reaching 18. They will receive £2,000 per year plus any additional expenses as a direct result of a loss of parental services.
A dependency payment for qualifying relatives who were financially of physically dependent on the person who has died. The rules relating to dependency payments can be quite complex and depends on the situation.
A funeral payment of up to £5,000 may be made for reasonably incurred expenses.
Our Abuse Claims Solicitors can advise you on whether you can make a claim under the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme and how much compensation you’re likely to receive.
We’re passionate about supporting and representing survivors of abuse, and helping them get the closure and justice they deserve. Contact our Abuse Lawyers for confidential legal advice and we’ll be happy to discuss your case with you.
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