Victoria Atkins MP: The new Domestic Abuse Commissioner has the power to hold Government to account
Writing exclusively for Politicshome on the appointment of the UK’s first Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Minister Victoria Atkins says she has been moved to hear of survivors’ resilience and strength.
Domestic abuse has no place in our society. It usually takes place behind closed doors, turning people’s homes from places of safety into places of fear, abuse and violence. It is a devastating crime which tears lives and families apart.
As Minister for Safeguarding and Vulnerability, I have had the privilege of meeting victims and survivors of domestic abuse as well as charities and groups who provide refuge and support for those in need and to help them rebuild their lives. I have been shocked by the physical, emotional and psychological trauma many experience and moved to hear of survivors’ resilience and strength.
This government is determined to ensure that anyone facing the threat of domestic abuse has someone to turn to. That’s why today’s appointment of the UK’s first Domestic Abuse Commissioner is such an important milestone in tackling this horrific crime. Nicole Jacobs has the wealth of experience necessary to stand up for victims and survivors. Formerly Chief Executive of domestic abuse charity, Standing Together against Domestic Violence, with over two decades of experience in the domestic abuse sector working as a practitioner, trainer and a strategic leader, Nicole has been a key voice within the domestic abuse sector. As Commissioner, Nicole will act as an advocate for the survivors and victims of domestic abuse and their families, raising public awareness and championing the provision of better support and resources for tackling domestic abuse.
The Commissioner’s work will begin this week. Her independent office will be tasked with encouraging good practice in preventing domestic abuse, identifying those at risk of abuse as well as potential perpetrators, and improving the provision of support to people and children affected by domestic abuse. As an independent body, the Commission will also hold the power to publish reports that hold local commissions, statutory agencies and the government to account.
Along with the Prime Minister’s and Home Secretary’s commitment to introduce domestic abuse legislation as part of the Queen’s Speech when Parliament returns, today’s appointment demonstrates the increased efforts by this government to improve its response to domestic abuse. We are determined to take proactive steps to improve the provision of support, protect both victims and survivors and change the way that we combat domestic abuse in the UK.
I look forward to working closely with the Commissioner to take proactive steps to raise awareness of domestic abuse, stand up for victims, and hold both local agencies and government to account in order to improve our response to these terrible crimes.
Victoria Atkins is Minister for Safeguarding and Vulnerability at the Home Office