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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

May 13, 2009: Health Taskforce On Violence Against Women

A new taskforce of health professionals working together to spot early signs of violence and abuse against women and girls, investigate the scale of the problem and ensure victims across the NHS get the support they need, was announced today by the Home Secretary and the Health Secretary.

The taskforce has been set up in response to issues raised during the Violence against Women and Girls consultation. (The largest ever cross-government public consultation to tackle violence against women and girls was launched in March this year.) The government recognises that victims may talk more freely with health professionals about their fear of violence – even when they are not ready to take the next step to reporting the crime.

The government wants to make sure that health professionals are prepared to give victims of violence and abuse information about local support services. The taskforce will also look at helping health workers to identify women at risk earlier and how they can offer these women support to reduce repeat victimisation.

Professor Sir George Alberti, former national clinical director for emergency access and service design, will lead the work of the taskforce. The taskforce will comprise health professionals, NHS managers and representatives from the public, social services and voluntary sector. Alongside this, the government also pledged to double funding for the 24-hour national domestic violence helpline, bringing total support to £1 million for this year.

The taskforce will work to:

  • estimate the prevalence and cost to the NHS of all forms violence against women and girls
  • review the evidence on the health care needs of women and girls who are or have been victims of violence or abuse, and to assess the extent to which their needs are currently met by the NHS
  • review the role of NHS in local strategies for reducing violence against women and girls - including participation in Multi Agency Risk Assessment Centres, Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships, children’s trusts arrangements; and the potential for improving data sharing with other local agencies
  • establish the case for earlier interventions to prevent violence against women and girls and beneficial impacts on health and other public services.

The taskforce is expected to make recommendations on:

  • improving the early identification of women and girls who are victims of violence and abuse
  • improving the quality of, and access to, services for women and girls who are victims of violence or abuse
  • raising the profile of violence against women and girls amongst NHS frontline staff and commissioners as well as their partner agencies
  • embedding improvements in the NHS by making the most effective use of existing NHS resources.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said:

'Violence against women and girls is completely unacceptable and we must all see it as our duty to step in and help someone who is at risk. This is not limited to friends and family; as we said in our consultation document, we need a wide range of workers on the frontline to be alert to the signs of violence against women and girls and able to provide support.'

'I want to make sure that vulnerable women or victims who access healthcare can also get help and advice about protecting themselves as well as information about local support services. That is why we need this new taskforce – violence against women and girls is a public health issue affecting the lives of thousands of NHS patients every year and we need to do all we can together to prevent violence from occurring.'

Health Secretary Alan Johnson commented:

'Almost one in three women will experience domestic violence at some point during their lives and nearly one in four will experience some form of sexual assault. This taskforce will bring together health professionals and women’s organisations to help tackle violence against women and girls by responding to its early signs and supporting its victims.

'Many women who have suffered violence and abuse turn to GPs and A&E for support and treatment – the taskforce will help us to ensure that all NHS staff are trained to care for women and girls and help prevent further abuse.

'We are also continuing to support the National Domestic Violence helpline for women so they can safely get the help they need at any time.'

Professor George Alberti said:

'Violence and abuse against women and girls is an enormously important and rather a neglected area. I am delighted to have been invited to lead this taskforce to help better support victims and protect them from further harm. The taskforce will bring together people with a range of different skills and experience to help tackle violence and abuse against women and girls. We will also ensure that the voices and experiences of victims themselves are properly represented.'

The 24-hour National Domestic Violence helpline is delivered jointly by the charities Refuge and Women’s Aid. It is part funded by an annual Home Office grant of £500,000 which has this year been matched in a one-off payment from the Department of Health.

The taskforce aims to identify the role and the response of health services in preventing, identifying and supporting women and girls who are victims of violence and abuse, and to make recommendations on what more could be done to meet their needs.