Domestic Abuse Bill Consultation

silhouette of figureTransforming the response to domestic abuse

Home Office and Ministry of Justice

Opened 8 Mar 2018
Closes 31 May 2018

Domestic abuse comes in many forms, shattering the lives of victims and their families, and in recognition of this the government has put forward proposals for new laws which would transform our approach to this terrible crime.

The consultation launched today (Thursday 8 March) by the Prime Minister Theresa May, Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Justice Secretary David Gauke, will seek views on measures to be included in the government’s draft Domestic Abuse Bill.

To ensure they get this landmark legislation right the Government now want to hear from all those who have been affected by abuse, from survivors, front line professionals, charities and the public, to gather views on how, together, we can best put a stop to it once and for all.

This consultation seeks to address domestic abuse at every stage from prevention through to rehabilitation. It references the connections and provisions of cross-sector agencies and departments and reinforces the Government’s aim to make domestic abuse everyone’s business.

By consulting the Government aims to harness the knowledge and expertise of victims and survivors, support organisations and research experts. They are also interested in the views of professionals across policing, criminal justice, health, welfare, education and local authorities who deal with these issues everyday.

The main aim through this work is to prevent domestic abuse by challenging the acceptability of abuse and addressing the underlying attitudes and norms that perpetuate it. This consultation asks questions under four main themes with the central aim of prevention running through each.

  • Promote awareness – to put domestic abuse at the top of everyone’s agenda, and raise public and professionals’ awareness.
  • Protect and support – to enhance the safety of victims and the support that they receive.
  • Pursue and deter – to provide an effective response to perpetrators from initial agency response through to conviction and management of offenders, including rehabilitation.
  • Improve Performance – to drive consistency and better performance in the response to domestic abuse across all local areas, agencies and sectors.

For each of these themes the current position is outlined and any potential areas identified where it is thought more could be done. These areas will be at different stages of development, and the accompanying questions will reflect this. In some instances feedback will be requested on specific proposals, whilst in others evidence or experiences will be asked for to further understand the problem.

The consultation includes some topics which are complex and/or technical.

Participate in this consultation

There are two versions of the consultation questionnaire:

Full version

Short Version


Transforming the response to domestic abuse 1.8 MB (PDF document)

Government takes action to tackle domestic abuse
Home Office and Ministry of Justice  08 March 2018

Postnatal Depression

Craft Attack & Jigsaw

Support & Therapy Groups

Around 10-15% of new mothers in the UK suffer from postnatal depression (PND). It usually develops within the first 6 weeks after birth, but can develop at any point within the first year.

Symptoms may include feelings of being overwhelmed and unable to cope, suffering from low moods, anxiety, panic attacks, and experiencing irregular sleeping patterns and difficulty in bonding. This in turn may lead to feelings of guilt, anger, irritability, negative thoughts and feeling helpless and isolated, even when supported by loved ones.

Craft Attack

offers an environment of respite for mums finding it difficult to cope. The group uses arts and crafts to help mums explore what they are experiencing and how they are feeling, whilst providing the opportunity to meet others in a similar position and find mutual support within the group. There is no obligation to engage with the craft activities and certainly no expectation to produce masterpieces! Refreshments and lunch are provided.


is a group for mums ready to explore what they are experiencing through talking with others in a similar position, facilitated by an experienced counsellor. Refreshments are provided.

Crèche and Care

A crèche is provided for babies and pre-school children, allowing mums to attend the groups in the knowledge their child is looked after in a safe crèche environment.

“Craft Attack has been the best support for me during a really difficult time” – Craft Attack attendee (2016/17)

The Groups

Using Big Lottery funding we offer places for up to 10 mums with PND and the groups run every Monday for 10 weeks. Craft Attack lasts two hours (12.30 – 2.30) in a relaxed and confidential environment. Jigsaw lasts one and a half hours also in a safe and confidential environment. Both groups offer support to mums with symptoms of PND and may address other aspects of anxiety and depression associated with PND.

Qualified and experienced counsellors attend the groups and are available for you to speak with in relation to matters that may be affecting you and the care of your baby. Be assured that information shared is treated in the strictest confidence.


Transport can be provided for those who need it from the Ashford area; the transport will collect you from your home address and will return you back once the session has finished. Child seats can be included, please let us know in advance.

How you will benefit:

  • We will provide a confidential and safe place in which to support you.
  • We will enable you to meet people in a similar situation to develop new friendships.
  • We will support you in exploring feelings and emotions brought about through postnatal depression and early parenting challenges.
  • We can provide support that meets your individual needs: respite, group therapy or individual counselling / therapy.
  • We will work with you to build confidence and self-esteem to enable you to change your current position.

Would you like to know more?


Ashford Counselling Service
The Paul Bower Centre
123 Church Road
Kent TN24 0JQ
Tel: 01233 610083
Email: info@ashfordcounselling.org.uk



Expansion of domestic abuse services

silhouette of figureDomestic abuse services will continue to expand in Ashford, thanks to the ongoing success of a strong multi-agency network programme.

At last night’s meeting, Ashford Borough Council’s Cabinet paid tribute to the ongoing success of Ashford Domestic Abuse Forum (ADAF), which works alongside professionals in the health, police, fire, voluntary, local authority and charitable sectors to support those seeking help. The charity’s achievements include the Ashford Domestic Abuse One Stop Shop, and a series of victim programmes.

ADAF is now introducing a new scheme in Ashford – in conjunction with the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company – aimed at helping perpetrators understand the impact they are having. A new rural drop-in service which may further improve provision for those across the borough is also being considered.

Additional funding has already been secured to provide a support network for both adolescent girls and boys, young women, and a specialist one-to-one service for children affected by domestic violence.

The Ashford Domestic Abuse One Stop Shop, a weekly drop-in centre where victims can receive advice and support, received 443 visitors between July 2016 and June 2017 – a 20% increase compared to the same period in 2015-16.

It is believed the increase is due to the leadership, delivery and awareness of the facility, which is enabling victims to speak out. It is the second busiest One Stop Shop in the county, with 20% of those attending doing so on more than one occasion.

Ashford Borough Council funds the full-time domestic abuse coordinator post, as well as providing money towards an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA), who is the primary contact for victims of domestic abuse. The council was also successful in bidding for funds to provide emergency accommodation to female victims of domestic violence.

Councillor Brad Bradford, Portfolio Holder for Health, Parking and Community Safety, said: “The council continues to play an important role in coordinating the response to domestic abuse. This ensures that Ashford has many excellent services committed to supporting such a worthwhile cause.

“This report highlights the marvellous work that has been undertaken by a range of agencies and I am impressed by the future work plan.”

The Ashford One Stop Shop is open every Tuesday between 9.30am and 12.30pm at The Willows Centre, Brookfield Road.

For information on other services available and other One Stop Shop’s across the county go to www.domesticabuseservices.org.uk

Ashford Borough Council  14 February 2018