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Lord West of Spithead: The statutory organisations available for victims of domestic abuse in November 1997 and November 2007 are the police service; the Crown Prosecution Service and the National Offender Management Service (area probation services and HM Prison Service in 1997).
Lord West of Spithead: Information on the proportion of adults who were victims of domestic violence by household type (including households
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|Table 1 Proportion of adults who were victims of domestic violence by household type|
|Percentage victims once or more||Domestic violence||Unweighted base|
To ask Her Majesty's Government which agencies are responsible for providing support services and outreach for victims of domestic abuse; which agencies are responsible for identifying cases of domestic violence; which of these agencies focus primarily on domestic violence; and which consider domestic violence to be a contributory factor in other matters. [HL492]
Lord West of Spithead: There are a number of voluntary sector agencies and organisations, such as Women's Aid, Refuge, Southall Black Sisters, IMKAAN and Victim Support which provide support services and outreach for victims of domestic violence. In addition, there are specialist independent domestic violence advisers (IDVAs) who may be employed by the above organisations or by smaller specialist organisations.
These organisations focus primarily on domestic violence and by their nature identify cases of domestic violence. Further support is also available through witness care units, which are staffed by both police and CPS workers.
There are a wide range of statutory and non-statutory agencies which come into contact with victims of domestic violence and their families. Therefore no one agency is responsible for identifying cases of domestic violence. Both the police and the Crown Prosecution Service identify cases of domestic violence at the earliest opportunity in accordance with their policies and guidance. These agencies do not focus only on domestic violence but are aware of the importance of early identification and intervention in cases of domestic violence.
The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) working with offenders in custody or in the community will also be alert to the possibility of domestic abuse in case assessments. Women safety workers (WSW) work with victims and current partners of men undertaking the accredited domestic abuse perpetrator programmes in custody and in the community in order to promote the safety of women and children. WSW will facilitate referral of women to local women's support services for support, advice and assistance.
Other statutory agencies also have systems in place to identify cases of domestic violence at an early stage. In relation to health, routine enquiry is now well established in antenatal clinics, in 22 accident and emergency departments and, most recently, has been developed in a pilot of 15 mental health trusts. The early data indicate that the majority of women who are admitted to mental health wards have been the victim of either physical or sexual abuse.
Since 2003, administering authorities have been allocated funding through the Supporting People programme, to support the most vulnerable people in their communities, including victims of domestic violence, through the provision of housing related support.
Voluntary sector organisations such as NSPCC, MIND and Age Concern are also aware of the overlap between domestic violence and their work on children, with disabled people and with older people and take domestic violence into account when formulating their policies.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): It is not possible at this point to predict when a roadside evidential breath testing device might be available. For evidence from such a device to be admissible in court, the device must be of a type approved by the Secretary of State. Type approval depends on compliance with an appropriate specification. Work to finalise a scientifically justifiable specification is continuing. When the specification is ready it will be for manufacturers to produce devices to comply with it and submit them for testing.
The time to type approval will depend on how quickly manufacturers present devices, how they perform in the necessarily rigorous and time-consuming tests, how soon any necessary adjustments and how soon after approval manufacturers begin commercial production. It will be for individual police forces to decide on the purchase of devices.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the reply by Lord West of Spithead on 8 December (Official Report, House of Lords, col. 145), what is the difference between intrusive and directed purposes for electronic surveillance. [HL246]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 sets out the relevant legal definitions. Essentially, directed surveillance is covert surveillance of individuals while in a public place for the purposes of a specific investigation or operation in a way that is likely to obtain private
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The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) is responsible for regulating gas and electricity supply. When a supplier introduces a price change it will base the allocation of units to the new and old prices on an estimate, based on the customer's historic consumption record. It would be impracticable for a supplier to obtain an actual meter reading for every customer on the day that a price change took effect. If a customer is unhappy with the estimated allocation of units, he can provide his own meter reading. The supplier must accept this or arrange to read the meter itself.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 10 November (WA 94), (a) for how long gas and electricity companies have been allowed 65 working days after the event to notify customers of a price increase; (b) whether there is any limit on the number of times a supplier may increase prices in the course of a year; and (c) whether the same rules apply to price decreases. [HL226]
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) is responsible for regulating gas and electricity supply. The rules governing notification of price increases were amended in 2007 following a two-year review of supply licences. As price reductions do not adversely affect customers or trigger transfer of supply by the customer, they are not governed by the same rules. Supply licences do not limit the number of price increases or reductions a supplier may make in a year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Triesman on 31 January 2007 (WA 5051), how many times since June 2006 they have overridden the scrutiny reserve of (a) the House of Lords European Union Committee; and (b) the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee. [HL36]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The table below provides information on the number of overrides in each House since the Government began sending twice-yearly lists to the chairmen of the House of Lords European Union Committee and the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee every six months. The table has been updated to include figures between July 2006 and June 2008. Figures for the period July-December 2008 will be compiled shortly.
|Occasions the Scrutiny Reserve resolution has been overridden|
|Period||House of Lords||House of Commons|
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The Government do not intend to propose the appointment of a Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for slavery and forced labour. We believe that the issues are well covered through an initiative we launched in 2007 to establish a new UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery at the fifth session of the Human Rights Council in September 2007.
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Government have asked the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to review the shortage occupation lists and report to us by March 2009. The MAC has decided to review the evidence relating to skilled occupations within the health sector. The committee will work with relevant organisations within that sector over the next few weeks to ensure they have the best possible evidence.
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