Prime Minister Theresa May has announced £20 million in new funding for organisations tackling domestic violence in the 2017 budget.
She told popular parenting website Mumsnet that domestic violence was both a “key priority” for the government and an issue that she regarded as personally important. She wanted to:
“…completely transform the way we think about and tackle domestic violence and abuse. There are currently thousands of people across Britain who are reading this right now and who suffer at the hands of abusers. I know they feel isolated and do not know where to turn for help.”
She would, she explained, work to raise awareness and tighten the law concerning “a life shattering and abhorrent crime”.
An additional £5 million will also be made available for an extension of ‘returnships’ (return to work schemes), moving these into all areas in which women are currently outnumbered. Aimed primarily at mothers but also technically open to men who have taken career breaks, these offer participants the opportunity to update professional skills and make valuable contacts.
The PM declared:
“Returnships are open to both men and women but we should acknowledge that, more often than not, it is women who give up their careers to devote themselves to motherhood, only to find the route back into employment closed off – the doors shut to them. This isn’t right, it isn’t fair and it doesn’t make economic sense. So I want to see this scheme extended to all levels of management and into industries where women are underrepresented.”
The government recently announced separate plans to cut the fees payable to lawyers appointed to accused parties by the criminal courts in domestic violence cases, in order to prevent them from having any need to cross-examine their accusers. This has attracted criticism from criminal lawyers, who claim the plan contradicts the government’s stated desire to help domestic violence victims.