HC Deb 16 January 1998 vol 304 cc341-2W
Dr. Lynne Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what action is being taken to assist victims of violence and abuse in close relationships and domestic situations. [22421]

Ms Ruddock

Combating violence against women is a key priority for the Ministers for Women and we are working closely with colleagues across Government, with women's organisations and through the Cabinet sub-Committee on Women's Issues, to reduce the level of violence against women. We are working with the Home Office, which has lead responsibility for developing policies to tackle domestic violence, in promoting strategies which combine prevention of violence with support for those who have already been subjected to violence.

The Government's commitment is demonstrated by a wide range of initiatives already underway. The Home Office has set up an inter-departmental review to identify measures to protect vulnerable or intimidated witnesses and to assist them to give evidence in court. The Lord Chancellor's Department's implementation of Part IV of the Family Law Act 1996 affords further protection for women and children, by providing civil remedies to victims of domestic violence. The Department of Health plays a vital role in encouraging inter-agency forums to improve local service co-ordination to influence public attitudes and offer support and relevant information for those who experience domestic violence.

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