The Government has published its draft Domestic Abuse Bill. The draft legislation follows last year's consultation.
Under the proposals, domestic abusers will no longer be able to cross-examine their former partners in family courts under a comprehensive government package of reforms to tackle the issue.
The bill, which has been broadly welcomed by campaigners, comes as new analysis estimates that the social cost of domestic abuse in 2016-17 was around £66 billion, more than the amount caused by alcohol and drug misuse, cigarettes and obesity combined.
According to the research, the vast majority of this cost (£47 billion) was a result of the physical and emotional harm of domestic abuse, however it also includes other factors such as cost to health services (£2.3 billion), police (£1.3 billion) and victim services (£724 million).
The new legislation will:
Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, Victoria Atkins said that the proposed legislation 'recognises the complex nature of these horrific crimes and puts the needs of victims and their families at the forefront'.
It is estimated that around two million adults experience domestic abuse each year, affecting almost 6% of all adults. Women are twice as likely to be victims than men.
Between the draft bill and its consultation response, the government is making 120 commitments to tackle domestic abuse. Amongst these are a series of non-legislative measures which include:
Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive of Refuge, welcomed the measures, saying 'the cost to women and children’s lives is devastating. But now the immense cost to the taxpayer has been laid bare, too. Domestic violence is truly everybody’s business.'