Ms Nicole Jacob’s Announced As The UK’s First Domestic Abuse Commissioner

Wednesday 18th September, saw the announcement of the UK’s first Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Ms Nicole Jacobs. 

Following the introduction of the Domestic Abuse Bill to Parliament in July, part of the Bill was to establish an office of an independent Domestic Abuse Commissioner.  The position would play a key role in overseeing and monitoring the provision of domestic abuse services within England and Wales.

The Ministry of Justice stated the Commissioner’s role would include:

  • Encouraging good practice in preventing domestic abuse
  • Improving the provision of support for people affected by domestic abuse
  • Make recommendations to public bodies
  • Publish reports that would hold statutory agencies and the Government to account and responsible for improving their services

The appointment of Ms Jacobs comes days after Boris Johnson pledged to reintroduce the Domestic Abuse Bill on the return of Parliament in October, however it was always the plan to appoint a commissioner before the Bill received Royal Assent.  By acting quickly, the MoJ hoped to begin work as soon as possible to ‘enable the model to be tested before it is codified in law’, also allowing any necessary amendments to be made during the Bill’s journey through Parliament.

With past experience and an apparent eagerness, Ms Jacobs will have an important role researching and providing independent advice to both government and charitable agencies regarding domestic abuse and how to tackle it.

Nicole Jacobs, Domestic Abuse Commissioner, said:

“It is an honour and a privilege to be appointed as the first Commissioner and I intend to raise the voices of victims and survivors of all ages, status and background and ensure that we shine a light on practice that fails them.”

It is encouraging to have a Commissioner, having previously worked as the chief executive of the domestic abuse charity Standing Together, who actively listens to victims and survivors of domestic abuse and shows a commitment to tackling domestic abuse.  Despite the support for Ms Jacobs to the role, there has been some query as to whether the role should be full time rather than part time, with Adina Claire from the charity Women’s Aid showing particular concern “given the extent of its [the role] remit”.

Although Ms Jacobs will have no formal powers until the Bill receives Royal Assent, it is comforting to know that the Domestic Abuse Bill still remains a priority and continues its march toward implementation regardless of the current state of affairs in Parliament.

We wish Ms Jacobs every success in her new role.

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