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'Landmark' Domestic Abuse Bill introduced to Parliament

Date:16 JUL 2019
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The government’s Domestic Abuse Bill is introduced in Parliament today, signalling a major step forward in transforming the response to this crime.

Seen as a large part of Prime Minister Theresa May's legacy, the Bill is considered to be the most comprehensive package ever presented to Parliament to tackle domestic abuse, both in supporting victims and in 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.

The Domestic Abuse Bill proposes creating a dedicated domestic abuse commissioner, and would place a duty on local councils to offer secure homes for victims of domestic violence and their children.

Other measures in the Bill include:

  • introducing the first ever statutory government definition of domestic abuse, which will include economic abuse
  • 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
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The Prime Minister, who launched the consultation at Downing Street in March last year, said: ‘Domestic abuse can take many forms, from horrific physical violence to coercive behaviour that robs people of their self-esteem, their freedom and their right to feel safe in their own homes, but the immense bravery I’ve seen demonstrated by survivors is consistent throughout. 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. This Bill will help us do just that and represents a true step-change in our approach.’

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘Domestic abuse destroys lives and tears families apart, but all too often it is hidden behind closed doors. This landmark Bill is an opportunity to help those who suffer this deeply harmful crime and support those who bring the perpetrators to justice.’

A draft of the Bill was published in January and can be read here.