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Govt slams GSD’s ‘opportunistic criticism’ of domestic violence strategy

The Government has described GSD criticism of its domestic abuse strategy as “purely opportunistic” and insisted that party has a “lack of knowledge” on the subject.

This comes after the Opposition insisted that the Government’s domestic abuse strategy was not moving fast enough and highlighted legislative areas that could be progressed.

In a statement the Government said that since coming into office it has invested time and energy in focussing on this sensitive area and is continuously monitoring the incidence of domestic abuse in Gibraltar.

“The introduction of new laws relating to controlling and coercive behaviour is already part of the national strategy on domestic abuse and amendments will be made to the Crimes Act to create a new offence,” the statement read.

But it explained that the introduction of new laws is just one part of a much wider strategy.

“The strategy has been carefully developed by representatives of a multi-agency group that forms part of the Domestic Abuse Forum.”

“It is as a direct result of the Minister for Equality having set up the Domestic Abuse Forum that all stakeholder departments and agencies now have their own, inter-aligned policies to ensure that there are proper referral pathways so that victims of domestic abuse are given the best protection available.”

This is the fundamental and essential progress that has been achieved, the Government said.

In order to strengthen the understanding of the subject matter, the Government said continuous training is another important key focus.

“In addition to an investment in training over the last few years, a number of representatives of the Domestic Abuse Forum have recently completed an online course on domestic abuse and will be attending a domestic abuse and violence conference in London later this month.”

The strategy acknowledges that the incidence of domestic abuse in Gibraltar, like any other jurisdiction, is likely to be higher than that shown by the statistics.

The stakeholder departments and agencies continue to develop the way in which each of them collect data so that it can be more meaningful, it added.

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