I entirely agree that effective and comprehensive training for responders to domestic and sexual abuse is essential. It is vital that they are equipped with the knowledge and skills required to protect and support all victims and survivors of domestic abuse, including those from black backgrounds.
It is for this reason that I welcomed the landmark Domestic Abuse Act 2021, which has at its core a focus on helping transform the response to domestic abuse. The Act aims to ensure that victims can report their experiences with full confidence that the state will do everything it can to support them.
I am aware, however, that a ‘one size fits all’ approach is not appropriate for all victims and recognise the importance of specialist domestic abuse services to support the specific issues that black victims face. I therefore welcomed that the Domestic Abuse Act established in law the role of Domestic Abuse Commissioner. This role requires the incumbent holder to adopt a specific focus on the particular needs of victims and survivors from minority or marginalised groups.
Nevertheless, it is my understanding that the police and other relevant organisations already receive training and guidance on domestic abuse, which includes recognising that victims may have specific needs based on their ethnicity or cultural background. The guidance pertaining to issues affecting certain groups of victims is set out in the College of Policing’s Authorised Professional Practice on domestic abuse.
For the reasons outlined above, I do not believe it is necessary to mandate revised specialist training. I would, however, like to reassure you that I am committed to ensuring that all victims and survivors of domestic abuse get the support they need.
I will be sure to follow the developments of the upcoming debate on the Valerie’s Law petition closely and can assure you that I take the issues of domestic and sexual abuse extremely seriously.