Domestic violence and abuse
Definition of domestic violence and abuse
In March 2013, we introduced a change in the definition of domestic violence and abuse. It was widened to include young people aged 16 to 17 who exhibited coercive control – a pattern of controlling behaviour. The decision followed a consultation that saw respondents call overwhelmingly for this change.
Extending the definition increases awareness that young people in this age-group experience domestic violence and abuse, encouraging more of them to come forward and get the support they need.
Read more about the government definition of domestic violence and abuse.
Domestic violence disclosure scheme
Under the domestic violence disclosure scheme an individual can ask the police to check whether a new or existing partner has a violent past (‘right to ask’). This scheme is commonly known as ‘Clare’s law’. If police checks show that a person may be at risk of domestic violence from their partner, the police will consider disclosing the information.
A pilot of the scheme in 4 police areas ended in September 2013 and the scheme has been extended across England and Wales from 8 March 2014.
Independent domestic violence advisers
Independent domestic violence advisers help keep victims and their children safe from harm from violent partners or family.
A number of organisations and agencies successfully bid for funding to support independent domestic violence advisers (IDVAs) and multi-agency risk assessment conference (MARAC) co-ordinators or administrators.
We also fund co-ordinated action against domestic abuse (CAADA) to provide a limited number of IDVA training places and to run the MARAC development programme, which provides support and resources to help MARACs improve their effectiveness.
Domestic homicide review guidance
When a person has been killed as a result of domestic violence, a domestic homicide review should be carried out to find out what happened and, most importantly, to identify what needs to change to reduce the risk of such tragedies happening in the future.
To support those establishing or contributing to domestic homicide reviews we have updated our multi-agency statutory guidance for the conduct of domestic homicide reviews.
An online domestic homicide reviews training package is also available to help community safety partnerships understand the process, and chairpersons training is available in 9 regions.
Community safety partnerships must notify the Home Office of their decision to either conduct a domestic homicide review, or not to conduct a review.
Find out more about domestic homicide reviews.
Domestic violence protection orders and notices
Domestic violence protection orders (DVPOs) are being implemented across England and Wales from 8 March 2014. This follows the successful conclusion of a 1 year pilot in the West Mercia, Wiltshire and Greater Manchester police force areas
Under the scheme, the police and magistrates can prevent the perpetrator from contacting the victim or returning to their home for up to 28 days. DVPOs are designed to help victims who may otherwise have had to flee their home, giving them the space and time to access support and consider their options.