Home Office consultation on domestic abuse law

The Home Office has launched a consultation on strengthening the law on domestic abuse by explicitly stating that it covers coercive and controlling behaviour as well as physical harm. This consultation seeks views on whether the current law on domestic abuse needs to be strengthened to offer better protection to victims. This consultation is specifically focused on whether we should create a specific offence that captures patterns of coercive and controlling behaviour in intimate relationships, in line with the Government’s non-statutory definition of domestic abuse. The consultation closing date is 15 October 2014.

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Troubled Families programme expanded to support younger children

Eric Pickles recently announced details of an expansion to the Troubled Families programme to help younger children get a better start in life.

The Troubled Families programme will retain its current focus on reducing truancy, crime and anti-social behaviour, but will apply the approach to more families with a wider set of issues including domestic abuse, debt and where children are at risk of being taken into care.

The programme will expand from working with children of school age to include those under five years old, and will have a particular focus on improving poor health which is a particular issue for ‘troubled families’.

Read the full press release

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Working families’ earnings fall short of costs of living

A new report from the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has found that working families are struggling to afford a basic standard of living.

The report, titled “Cost of a Child in 2014” is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and explores the living costs of families earning the national minimum wage. It finds that families working full-time jobs are falling short of the basic standard of living by 18%, as a result of a combination of low wages, benefit cuts and rising costs of childcare. The shortfall increases to 43% for those currently out of work, with the cost of raising a child having risen from 8% to 11% since 2012.

The annual “Cost of a Child” report, now in its third year, calls for the government to do more to protect children and families from poverty, estimating the weekly cost of raising a child – including rent, council tax and childcare costs – at £164.19 for couples and £184.50 for lone parents.

Since 2012, cuts and freezes to benefits have left many parents worse off, with child benefit covering 19.2% of the cost of raising a child, down from 20% in 2012. Since 2008, the cost of childcare has risen by 42%, representing twice the official inflation rate.

Read the report (CPAG).

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