1 April 2022

The RCSLT welcomes the cross-government’s Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan that details how the government will prioritise prevention, support victims and pursue perpetrators, but calls for strengthened support for people with communication needs

The RCSLT welcomes the cross-government Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan (PDF), as well as the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) National Statement of Expectations (PDF) and the Supporting Male Victims statement (PDF).

We are pleased to see the government clearly state that domestic abuse is everyone’s business, and that we all must play a role to tackle it. This includes speech and language therapists, who play a crucial role in supporting victims of domestic abuse and their children as well as in identifying the potentially unrecognised and unsupported speech, language and communication needs of perpetrators.

The Domestic Abuse Act (2021) specifically recognised children as victims of domestic abuse, and we are pleased to see that the Plan continues to emphasise this by noting that “witnessing domestic abuse as a child can have devastating consequences”. We hope that speech, language, and communication needs are recognised and identified among these consequences. This will ensure that children who witness domestic abuse receive the support that they need, including speech and language therapy where required.

We are also pleased to see that that the VAWG National Statement of Expectations recognises the importance of local specialist VAWG service provision designed to support, in particular, deaf and disabled victims and victims with learning disabilities.

The Domestic Abuse Act recognises that speech, language and communication needs are a vulnerability and risk factor in their own right, and we hope that the specialist provision for these particular victims – and all victims with speech, language and communication needs – recognise the important role played by speech and language therapists.

We also look forward to the publication of the Domestic Abuse Act’s Statutory Guidance given this should explicitly reference speech, language and communication needs as an intersectionality which increases vulnerability to domestic abuse and creates barriers to accessing support services.

The RCSLT will continue to influence and campaign for the recognition of the role that speech and language therapists play in supporting the speech, language and communication needs of both victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse.

We remain very grateful to our members and those parliamentarians who have supported us in this influencing work. If you would like to stay updated on and get involved in this work, please contact padraigin.oflynn@rcslt.org.

To learn more, read our briefings on the Domestic Abuse Act and its statutory guidance:

Domestic Abuse Bill: RCSLT members secure win for SLCN

The RCSLT has welcomed a commitment from the government to revise draft statutory guidance

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