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Howarth challenges the Government on domestic violence

November 7, 2008 2:13 PM

David Howarth MPCambridge MP David Howarth has challenged the Government over its domestic violence programmes, claiming the under-funded probation service is facing problems delivering them on time.

And Shadow Justice Minister, Mr Howarth questioned what effect the £1 billion cut in the Ministry of Justice budget would have on the programmes set up to reform offenders.

"The programmes are immensely important for reforming offenders and for victims, many of whom would not come forward if they thought that their partner would be imprisoned immediately," said Mr Howarth during a Commons' debate yesterday (Thursday) on domestic violence.

He raised his concerns about the programmes, launched two years ago, as he prepares to speak out about domestic violence during an Amnesty International event in Cambridge on November 29.

Mr Howarth will address the problems facing immigrant women on spousal or temporary visas who are the victims of domestic violence but not entitled to seek help at Government-funded refuges.

His Commons' question was answered by Redcar Labour MP Vera Baird, QC, who claimed she did not recognise the "picture he was trying to generate" and added "we cannot click our fingers and generate courses for perpetrators just like that."

After the debate Mr Howarth said: "The probation service is under-funded and over-stretched and is finding it very difficult to deliver these programmes on time.

"I am very concerned that a huge cut in the Ministry of Justice budget can only lead to further problems for a service charged with delivering these programmes which are so vital in our work to stamp out domestic violence."