Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan

  • By Rachel Buttrick


The Home Office published its Domestic Abuse Plan on 30 March 2022. The plan is complementary to the Tackling Violence against Women and Girls Strategy that was published in July 2021 and is under the same governance framework. The plan provides a comprehensive overview of recent and upcoming government activity to tackling Domestic Abuse.

A Male Victims' Position Statement and an updated National Statement of Expectations and Toolkit for commissioning services to tackle violence and against Women and Girls were published alongside the Domestic Abuse plan.

The plan takes a broad approach to tackling domestic abuse, with activities focused on prevention and early intervention, support for victims, the effective management of perpetrators and programmes to change perpetrator behaviour, and tackling systematic challenges, including co-operation between organisations. Insight and improved research into effective interventions are highlighted as government priorities. The plan acknowledges the wide ranging impact of Domestic Abuse and the role of education, health, the criminal justice system and the courts,  employers and financial institutions in tackling abuse, alongside the role of support services and the police.

The plan refers extensively to existing and upcoming legislation and strategies, including: The Domestic Abuse Act 2021, the Online Safety Bill, and the Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill.

Prioritising Prevention

Government activity on prevention focuses on children and young people, with RSHE education in schools a central pillar of work.

Investment in Research and insight

  • The Home Office has already committed to funding £3 Million toward programmes understanding what works in prevention for 2022-3
  • The Home Office is supporting a group led by University College London to develop a set of tools to measure the effectiveness of interventions that support children experiencing domestic abuse.

New Resources and Guidance

  • The Department of Education is working with domestic abuse specialists to develop a package of support for teachers in delivering the Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) curriculum.
  • The Home Office will publish updated guidance for frontline practitioners on child-to-parent abuse (CPA) in 2022
  • The Home Office will launch a consultation on revised guidance for the Domestic Violence Disclosure scheme


Supporting Victims

Funding for Support Services

  • The Ministry of Justice is increasing funding to Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) for victim and witness support services, to £185 million by 2024-25.  £147 million has been committed per year for victim support services,  for victims of all types of crime, over the next three years. This includes core funding for PCCs.  Of this, a minimum of £81 million over the next three years will be used to fund 700 ISVA and IDVA roles. £15.7 million per year will be ringfenced to be spent on community-based services supporting victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence.
  • The Home Office is also planning to double funding for survivors of sexual violence and the National Domestic Abuse Helpline by 2024-25
  • The Home Office has committed £1.4 million for 2022-23 to fund support for migrant victims and survivors of Domestic Abuse. This will extend the 12 month pilot delivered by Southall Black Sisters.
  • The Home Office will trial a flexible funding model of up to £300,000, for charities in select areas to purchase vital goods and services for victims and survivors
  • There will be additional funding for the Domestic Abuse Commissioner to establish a mechanism for survivor input into policy development and implementation.

National Standards for Services

  • The Ministry of Justice will explore the development of national commissioning standards across all victim support services, while the Department for Levelling Up, Communities and Housing (DLUCH) will develop quality standards for support in safe accommodation.

Support for Children Experiencing Domestic abuse

  • The Home Office has committed £4.1 million to the Children Affected by Domestic Abuse (CADA) fund for 2022-23, which can be used to fund organisations providing specialist support within the community to children who are experiencing domestic abuse
  • The Home Office has allocated £1.1 million from the Shared Outcomes fund to activities safeguarding children experiencing DA, including the evaluation and expansion of Operation Encompass 

Other Support for Victims and survivors

  • The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will review the current statutory leave provision for employees and consider if this does enough for victims and survivors of domestic abuse. Next steps will be announced later this year.
  • The Department for Work and Pensions has committed to introducing an exemption, for survivors aged under 35 and living alone, from the shared accommodation rate of Local Housing Allowance. This will also apply to some victims of Honour Based Violence.

Victim Experiences of Policing and Family, Civil and Criminal Courts

  • The Home Office will provide up to £3.3 million over three years to support delivery of Domestic Abuse Matters training to the police.
  • The Home Office will develop an Immigration Enforcement Migrant Victims Protocol. The purpose of the Protocol is to provide support to vulnerable victims and survivors to make applications to regularise their stay, ensuring no immigration enforcement action can be taken against them while an investigation is underway.
  • The Ministry of Justice currently has an open consultation (opened 15th March and closing on 7th June) on proposed changes to the means test for legal aid. Under the plans, domestic abuse victims and survivors applying for a protective order or other proceedings would benefit from the more generous means test for civil legal  aid, which includes significant increases to the income and capital thresholds. In addition, if someone is applying for legal aid for a dispute about an asset, the asset will not be included in the means assessment.
  • The Ministry of Justice, together with system partners, are piloting an Integrated Domestic Abuse Court which has been designed to reduce the re-traumatisation of domestic abuse victims and survivors and enhance the voice of the child in private law proceedings. Courts in Dorset and North Wales are involved in the pilot


Pursuing Perpetrators


The Domestic Abuse Plans commits to the expansion and evaluation of perpetrator programmes. The plan also highlights the need for effective risk assessment tools to deal with perpetrators. This section refers extensively to existing programmes of work, including Operation Soteria, and elements of the Domestic Abuse Act that are being implemented.


Perpetrator Management

  • The Home office has funded UCL to review the risk assessment tool: “Recency, Frequency, Gravity and Victimisation” Model and will invest 6.7 million over the next 3 years to further refine the algorithm and pilot roll out of the tool
  • The government is currently considering options for a Domestic Abuse Offenders register, to tackle the most high harm offenders. The register could require the most dangerous domestic abusers to report certain matters to the police, such as when they start new relationships.
  • As part of the implementation of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, Domestic Abuse Protection Notices (DAPNs) and Domestic Abuse Protection Orders (DAPOs) will be piloted in selected areas across England and Wales to test the effectiveness and impact of the new model. Both DAPNs and DAPOs will be issued in pilot areas from early 2023 and undergo a process and impact evaluation ahead of expected national rollout in 2025.
  • The Ministry of Justice will be increasing tagging of those leaving custody, including approximately 3,500 individuals who are at risk of perpetrating domestic abuse.
  • The Ministry of Justice has committed to pilot problem-solving courts in England and Wales and is exploring the possible inclusion of a court focused on domestic abuse perpetrators.


Perpetrator Programmes

  • The Home Office has committed £75 million over the next three years to fund perpetrator programmes, including research and evaluation.
  • The Home Office is working with Durham University, Respect, and SafeLives to develop a set of overarching national standards and principles for domestic abuse perpetrator interventions. They will also be rolling out a toolkit to support local needs assessment and commissioning of perpetrator programmes


A Stronger System

Improving Identification of Domestic Abuse

  • Up to £7.5 million will be invested over three years into interventions in healthcare settings, to upskill healthcare staff in responding to Domestic Abuse
  • The Home Office will work with the Department for Work and Pensions to trial the Ask for ANI codeword scheme (where service users can indicate to staff they need support with Domestic Abuse by using a code word) across Jobcentre Plus offices.

Improvements to the DHR process

  • Reforms will be made to the Domestic Homicide Review (DHR) Process, including updated guidance, more intense compulsory training for chairs and a formal role for the Domestic Abuse Commissioner in reviewing DHRs
  • An online repository of all DHRs will go live in 2022.
  • The Home Office will work with domestic abuse leads in the police to identify best practice in identifying appropriate suicide cases to be referred for DHRs


Male Victims' Position Statement

The Male Victims Position Statement, Supporting male victims of crimes considered violence against women and girls, sets out a commitment to supporting male victims. It provides an overview of the prevalence of such crimes against men, and highlights the disproportionate impact on men who are gay, bisexual or trans, men from Black or minority ethnic backgrounds and disabled men.

During 2021-22, the Ministry of Justice committed over £1.4 million to the Male Rape Fund. A further £1.4 million will be committed in 2022- 23. The Ministry of Justice will also continue to fund Safeline’s national male rape helpline and SurvivorsUK’s webchat until March 2023.

The position statement also includes the government’s commitment to launch a government funded victim support service specific to conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is a form of abuse that aims to change someone’s sexual orientation or suppress someone’s gender identity.


The Tackling Domestic Abuse Plans provides a welcome focus on preventing Domestic Abuse, with a focus on children and young people, which has been recognised by organisations in the VAWG sector. The plan takes a holistic approach to Domestic Abuse, including discussion of the impact of health and education and the wider system challenges to tackling Domestic Abuse.  The key points of interest for boroughs will be funding available for victim support services, including for migrant victims, additional funding for support for children and funding for the expansion and evaluation of perpetrator programmes. The upcoming Victims’ Bill should be used to ensure community-based support services for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence receive sufficient long-term funding. Challenges remain, especially in regards to housing, and while the Tackling Domestic Abuse plan includes some welcome proposals regarding housing, it does not address the challenges around insufficient refuge accommodation and housing available for survivors of domestic abuse. The Domestic Abuse Commissioner raised that the plan does not fundamentally address the barriers experienced by migrant victims, with only a short term (one year) extension to support funding.

Rachel Buttrick, Principal Policy and Project Officer