This small scale qualitative research looked at the implementation of two domestic violence policies introduced in April 2012: Jobseeker’s Allowance Domestic Violence (JSADV) Easement  and Destitute Domestic Violence (DDV) Concession .
The research took place in January to March 2013 in a small number of Jobcentre Plus offices and involved in-depth interviews with:
- 10 Jobcentre Plus managerial staff and 22 Jobcentre Plus advisers at five different Jobcentres
- 3 District Office representatives
- 3 domestic violence stakeholder organisations (plus attendance at a stakeholder meeting)
The report was commissioned in January 2013 to help the department to understand more about how the policies are being implemented by frontline services, identifying any ongoing issues and challenges as well as good practice which could be introduced more widely.
The Department for Work and Pensions has used this research to begin to:
- improve understanding of both the JSADV Easement and DDV Concession with front line staff, through revised guidance and refreshed communications. Messages will be directed both at Jobcentre front line staff as well as benefit centre staff – and will centre not only on the policies but also reflect on supporting vulnerable customers sensitively
- consider how management information could be distributed to district/sub-district level to give an insight in to use of both policies in their area – with a view to raising awareness at management level
- work with partnership managers to promote the benefits of maintaining a good dialogue with local DV stakeholders – with a view to growing understanding of what support is available and upskilling frontline staff and managing issues as they arise in the local setting
- maintain strong relationships with DV Stakeholders at a national level to ensure issues are dealt with, best practice is identified and shared and the latest evidence and analysis is used by the policy team in determining future activity
The JSADV Easement provides a specific easement from jobseeking conditions for Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants who are victims of actual or threatened domestic violence. This means an exemption from jobseeking conditions and requirements to be actively looking for employment for an initial 4 week period providing certain conditions are met, which can extend to a total of 13 weeks where relevant evidence is provided.
The DDV Concession seeks to ensure migrant spouse victims of domestic violence who have been granted leave to remain outside the immigration rules under the ‘destitute domestic violence concession’ are able to access eligible income-related benefits.