To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to ensure that all perpetrators of domestic violence engage in mandatory rehabilitation programmes irrespective of the length of time they spend in prison.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The National Offender Management Service is working to reduce waiting times by ensuring all staff are familiar with the referral criteria for perpetrators of domestic violence, and by improved liaison between the offender manager, the programme delivery team, and the court.
Probation areas are delivering more domestic violence programmes than ever before. Also, a further three domestic abuse programmes, which are currently being piloted, will extend the range of interventions available.
Directors of offender management have been appointed to commission services that meet the needs of offenders and sentencers in their area, and to further co-ordinate services across community and custody. To support commissioning a specification, benchmarking and costing exercise is under way which will help directors to maximise the effective use of resources in each of their regions. There are no additional resources being provided.
There are currently no plans to make programmes mandatory for all perpetrators of domestic violence. Domestic abuse offenders have diverse needs, some of which can be met by other interventions. As such, not all perpetrators of domestic violence will be suitable for or benefit from the range of programmes that are available. However, there are a number of requirements which can be attached to community sentences or custodial licences, in addition to a supervision requirement, which may be effective for domestic abuse offenders.
Domestic abuse issues can also be addressed on a structured individual basis as well as within a domestic abuse programme. Any intervention with an offender should be completed within a framework of inter-agency collaboration and protection of known victims.
During the waiting period offenders are being supervised by offender managers, where applicable (under MAPPA arrangements), and may be subject to other requirements and are usually engaged in preparation work for the programme they are required to undertake.