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Anonymous vote registration simplified to protect domestic abuse victims

Date:5 SEP 2017
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The Government has announced plans to make it easier for domestic abuse survivors to register to vote anonymously. The Government’s changes will increase the number of people who can act as witnesses, including medical and healthcare professionals and refuge workers, and expand the type of evidence which can be put forward.

Currently, survivors must provide a court order or have their application supported by a senior independent witness, such as a police superintendent, in order to appear anonymously on the electoral register.
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The Government will work with the Electoral Commission to improve guidance for social workers to help individuals access the scheme.

The expanded list of evidence which can be put forward to support a claim includes:

  • domestic violence protection orders; and
  • female genital mutilation protection orders.

To complement the legislative changes, the Cabinet Office plans to comission further research to identify and explain other barriers to electoral registration faced by survivors of domestic abuse.

Katie Ghose, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said:
‘For too long these women have been silenced because it was too dangerous for them to sign up to an electoral register, which would reveal their location, and too difficult for them to register anonymously…The new measures send out a clear message to all survivors of domestic abuse—that their voices matter, and their right to vote should never be taken away.’