Official statistics (ONS (2016), March 2015 Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW)) show that around 2 million people suffer from some form of domestic abuse each year in the UK.
In December 2019, the Government passed the Domestic Abuse Bill with a view to trying to combat this serious problem. After months of deliberations and a lot of hard work, the Bill has now passed all stages of the House of Commons and received Royal Assent on 29 April 2021.
The aim of the Domestic Abuse Act is twofold. First, to create and increase awareness of the concept of domestic abuse and second, to provide additional protection to victims of domestic violence. Some of the provisions in the Act include but are not limited to:
(1) Perpetrators of abuse will be stopped from cross-examining their victims in person in the civil and family court in England and Wales.
(2) The offence of controlling or coercive behavior has been extended to include abuse where the perpetrator and the victim no longer live together and
(3) The creation of the new offence of non-fatal strangulation which carries a sentence of 5 years imprisonment.
Undoubtedly, the introduction of this legislation will a great step towards a victory for all domestic abuse victims.