CAB and the benefits of prevention *
As we emphasise in the next section on risk and compliance, using the Duty as a tool to prevent discrimination can result in costing public authorities less in downstream costs, or in other inputs to remedy problems later on. Our cases on domestic violence provide some of the most harrowing examples of how more effective use of the duty could help save significant cost to individuals as well as to health and social services:
- A CAB reported the case of a client who is 81 years old. She is married and a home owner. She has suffered physical and mental domestic violence by her husband over many years. This has resulted in her having operations on her head, her teeth being knocked out, and a kidney removed. Until coming to the bureau about another matter, the client had never told anyone about the violence and never reported it to the police.
- A CAB in the North reports a client who escaped domestic violence and is living in a Women's Refuge without financial support. Her financial situation is critical to the point of receiving three crisis loans and receiving help from the Citizens Advice Bureau hardship fund. Notably, the client has been sanctioned by the DWP and is no longer able to claim Job Seekers Allowance for not ‘making enough effort’ - while she recovers from depression and the domestic violence. By not having access to financial support beyond crisis loans or grants the client is unable to sustain herself or afford necessities. Her children have been taken into care and she will be unable to care for them again until she is in a better situation. There is a lack of support for the client who has made the effort to escape from domestic violence and a lack of consideration by the DWP of the equality issues involved.
* Source: Public Sector Equality Duty: Submission to Government Equalities Office Review, Citizen’s Advice [April 2013]