The Government’s landmark Domestic Abuse Bill was introduced in Parliament last week, indicting a major step forward in transforming the response to this crime. The most inclusive package ever to be presented to Parliament to tackle domestic abuse, supporting both victims and bringing perpetrators to Justice. This was the outcome of extensive work with stakeholders and charities and a public consultation on measures to be included in the Bill that saw more than 3,200 responses.
A draft Bill was published in January, which has undergone extensive scrutiny by a Joint Committee of Cross Party MPs and Peers as part of the Government’s enhanced approach to ensure this historic legislation is correct. The Committee published a report on the draft Bill in June and made a set of recommendations which the Government has considered carefully.
Measures in the Bill include:
- introducing the first ever statutory Government definition of domestic abuse, which will include economic abuse;
- establishing a Domestic Abuse Commissioner to champion victims and survivors;
- introducing new Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and Domestic Abuse Protection Orders to further protect victims and place restrictions on the actions of offenders;
- prohibiting the cross-examination of victims by their abusers in the family courts;
- providing automatic eligibility for special measures to support more victims to give evidence in the criminal courts.
Domestic abuse can take many forms, from horrific physical violence to coercive behaviour that robs people of their self-esteem, freedom and their right to feel safe in their own homes. We have a duty not only to bring the perpetrators of these vile crimes to Justice, but to support victims as they rebuild their lives and the Bill will help us to do exactly that.
Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, Victoria Atkins said:
“Having spoken to survivors of domestic abuse, I have been both shocked by their stories and moved by their resilience and strength. As a government, we must do all we can to support those who have suffered this horrendous abuse.”