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Support for domestic abuse victims is a 'postcode lottery', says charity

PUBLISHED: 13:51 24 January 2019

Suffolk charities are responding with opposing views about a draft Government bill on domestic abuse. Picture: PA WIRE

Suffolk charities are responding with opposing views about a draft Government bill on domestic abuse. Picture: PA WIRE

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Fears have been raised of a "postcode lottery" of support available for domestic abuse sufferers.

Lighthouse Women’s Aid welcomed a new legally-recognised definition of domestic abuse proposed by the government this week, which would give greater recognition to non-physical factors such as financial and psychological control.

But Sally Winston, chief executive of the charity which has a centre in Ipswich, said that while the government’s new draft bill recognises the need for funding specialist services: “For far too long the response to domestic abuse has been a postcode lottery.

“It is essential going forward that the government recognises the need for long term sustainable funding for specialist, life-saving services like ours who provide vital accommodation for victims and their children.”

Recent statistics have shown that in Suffolk, domestic abuse was found to be a factor in the child protection assessments of 2,704 children.

In Essex, domestic abuse was a factor in a further 6,091 children’s assessments.

However, calls by the NSPCC for the government to recognise children living with domestic abuse as victims under law were ignored.

NSPCC head of policy, Almudena Lara, said: “The government rightly acknowledges the impact of domestic abuse on children but sadly the measures in the bill do not reflect that.

“By failing to officially recognise children as victims in law, the government is missing a crucial chance to give young people an extra layer of protection.

“We want all children living with domestic abuse to know that they are not alone, and to have access to the right support to help them recover.”

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