The government has appointed the UK’s first domestic abuse commissioner. The Home Secretary, Priti Patel has announced Nicole Jacobs, previously CEO of Standing Together Against Domestic Violence, will take the job championing the rights of victims of abuse. This comes as the Prime Minister confirmed the government was ‘fully committed’ to reintroducing the Domestic Abuse Bill following uproar from charities after the prorogation triggered its drop (reported on by The Justice Gap here).
Commenting on the reintroduction, Jacobs said: ‘Everyone was [concerned], and now that we have the commitment we can be a bit relieved… It was heartening how quickly politicians from all parties were asserting how much they wanted to see the bill in the Queen’s Speech and back on track, as well as from the public and people in the court system. It is very good for the government to respond and give some assurance, and I know that everyone will be watching and listening to see it in there.”
The new role is legislated within the Bill itself and therefore the commissioner will have no formal powers until it actually becomes law. Adina Claire, acting co-chief executive of Women’s Aid welcomed the appointment. ‘We are concerned that this crucial role is a part-time position, given the extent of its remit,’ she said. ‘Specialist domestic abuse services continue to face a funding crisis, with women and children facing a postcode lottery when trying to access help and support. Women’s Aid’s research shows that 57% of domestic abuse service providers were running an area of their service with no dedicated funding at all in 2018. With this in mind, we’re delighted that the new Commissioner is someone who understands the specialist domestic abuse sector and can work to hold both national and local government to account.’