A domestic abuse consultation event took place in Birmingham today, the first of six to be held across the country, to gather insight which will be used to inform the forthcoming Domestic Abuse Bill.
Victims minister, Dr Phillip Lee, joined more than 100 frontline professionals, police and charity representatives to hear views on how to transform how the country deals with domestic abuse.
Proposals set out in the consultation, 'Transforming the Response to Domestic Abuse', which was launched earlier this month, include new Domestic Abuse Protection Orders to better shield victims against further abuse by enabling courts to impose a range of conditions on abusers. Measures also include plans to toughen sentences in this area and the creation of a Domestic Abuse Commissioner to hold the Government to account.
Economic abuse will be recognised for the first time as a type of domestic abuse, covering controlling circumstances in which victims have finances withheld, are denied access to employment or transport, or are forced to take out loans and enter into other financial contracts. This recognition will help frontline professionals, law enforcement officers and prosecutors take action more quickly and effectively to better support victims.
Further events will be held in Newcastle, Cardiff, Manchester, London and Exeter. The consultation closes on 31 May.
Dr Phillip Lee said:
‘Domestic abuse is an appalling crime, which destroys too many lives.
It is so important that we get this legislation right. Events such as this will help us understand how we can come together and end this devastating form of abuse, that can have a lifelong impact on its victims and on families.’
Maureen Connolly, Birmingham & Solihull’s Women’s Aid said:
‘Through events like today we are ensuring we get the multi-agency and cross-Government response needed to tackle this issue which devastates so many lives.
This is a once in a generation opportunity to shape legislation that has the potential to make real and effective change for women and children affected by abuse.
We owe a duty to women and children brave enough to seek our support to match their courage and provide the necessary social and welfare infrastructure to enable them to be safe.’