The Home Office has published Statutory Guidance for the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 and Stepping Stones Luton welcomes this publication. We particularly welcome the inclusion of economic abuse in the Statutory Guidance as this is a very real form of abuse alongside more acknowledged types of domestic abuse such as physical, sexual, psychological and coercive control. We also welcome the recognition of children and young people who witness domestic abuse as independent victims. The Statutory Guidance includes best practice approaches and multi-agency collaboration amongst voluntary and statutory services supporting people affected by domestic abuse.
Stepping Stones Luton is a charity that actively supports, empowers, and advocates on behalf of women affected by domestic abuse and this we do with finite funding and small grants. We believe that for the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 to be fully effective organisations involved in supporting victims of domestic abuse must be more adequately funded and there needs to be a greater sharing of local intelligence. We, and our colleagues working within the voluntary sector supporting victims of domestic abuse, need to be included in key statutory agency stakeholder discussions to ensure that the needs of our service beneficiary community are understood and appropriately met.
The needs that we are seeking to meet of women experiencing domestic violence are increasingly diverse and complex and although the recently published Statutory Guidance goes some way towards addressing these needs, much more is needed to ensure that people experiencing domestic violence are adequately supported.
Our Chief Executive Officer Alison Thompson, said, “The Statutory Guidance published by the Home Office is timely and I hope that all agencies continue to work closely together to ensure that our communities are stronger and women and children who have experienced domestic abuse can enjoy happier, safer lives.”