The government’s landmark Domestic Abuse Bill will be introduced in Parliament today, signalling a major step forward in transforming the response to this crime.
The Bill is the most comprehensive package ever presented to Parliament to tackle domestic abuse, both supporting victims and bringing perpetrators to justice.
Following extensive work with stakeholders and charities, the government carried out a public consultation on measures to be included in the Bill that saw more than 3,200 responses.
A draft of the Bill was published in January and has undergone extensive scrutiny by a Joint Committee of cross party MPs and Peers as part of the government’s collaborative 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
Responding to the Joint Committee’s report, the government has either accepted or partially accepted the majority of recommendations and has committed to consider several further as the Bill progresses through Parliament.
Specialist Support for Asylum Seekers & Migrants
Also being announced today are government plans to support asylum seekers suffering domestic abuse by ensuring they have access to refuges, ensuring that victims can receive the specialist support they need.
The government will also undertake a review into the statutory response to migrant victims of domestic abuse.
In January, the government published a report into the economic and social cost of domestic abuse, which revealed the cost to victims of domestic abuse in the year ending March 2017 in England and Wales was an estimated £66 billion. It is estimated that around 2 million adults experience domestic abuse each year, affecting almost 6% of all adults.
Anyone living in Warwickshire, who is affected by Domestic Abuse, can contact Refuge for confidential, non-judgmental support on 0800 408 1552.