The UK's first ever domestic abuse commissioner has been appointed by the government to lead on driving improvements on the response to domestic abuse in the UK.
Former Chief Executive Officer at charity Standing Together Against Domestic Violence Nicole Jacobs has been appointed as the designate Domestic Abuse Commissioner. Ms Jacobs, who has 20 years experience in working to reduce domestic abuse, will champion victims and make recommendations on what more should be done to better protect victims and bring more offenders to justice.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "Domestic abuse is unacceptable, and I am absolutely determined to do all I can to make to protect victims and their families and ensure perpetrators face tough action.
"I am delighted that Nicole will be taking on the crucial role as Commissioner and acting as a voice for those who need it most," she added.
The independent Office of Domestic Abuse Commissioner will encourage good practice in preventing domestic abuse, identify those at risk of abuse as well as perpetrators and improve the protection and provision of support to those affected by domestic abuse.
The office will have the power to publish reports that hold statutory agencies and the government to account.
Ms Jacobs will initially work as the designate Commissioner until the Commissioner’s Office is placed on a statutory footing. Both the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary have stated their commitment to tackling domestic abuse, with commitments to bring in legislation during the Queen’s Speech.
Nicole Jacobs said: "Establishing the Office of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner shows the government’s commitment to reducing harm and improving the lives of those who experience domestic abuse.
"It is an honour and a privilege to be appointed as the first Commissioner and I intend to raise the voices of victims and survivors of all ages, status and background and ensure that we shine a light on practice that fails them," she added.
As Ms Jacobs appointment was announced, the Home Secretary co-chaired a round table event with the Secretary of State for Justice, Robert Buckland, to listen to the experiences and concerns of victims of sexual violence and to understand better what barriers could be preventing victims from engaging with the criminal justice system.
Ms Jacobs, who will take up her role this week, has worked in a number of roles linked to domestic abuse, as a frontline practitioner, in senior operational and management roles, and as a trainer and strategic leader.
Cllr Katrina Wood, Vice Chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “This appointment is a positive step to help tackle domestic violence, which is an issue that councils take very seriously and we look forward to working with the Commissioner on further measures to improve work to support more victims and stop this devastating crime.
“Our ambition must be to reduce the number of victims, with greater investment in early intervention and prevention schemes, including in perpetrator programmes, that help stop domestic violence happening in the first place.
“We look forward to working with the Commissioner to ensure adequate resources and funding for councils and their partners are in place to help reduce and eventually eliminate domestic abuse, supported by the confirmation of the Domestic Abuse Bill as part of the Queen’s Speech," she concluded.
Boris Johnson Tweeted last week: "Domestic abuse shatters lives & tears families
apart. We are fully committed to tackling this horrific crime - which is why the Queen's Speech will confirm we will be reintroducing domestic violence legislation in the next session."