Improved Domestic Abuse Bill introduced
The government has presented an enhanced version of its Domestic Abuse Bill to Parliament, saying the “most comprehensive package ever to tackle this horrendous crime” will support and protect victims and punish perpetrators.
The proposed legislation picks up from an earlier version which fell by the wayside when Parliament was dissolved last year and has been redrafted to include new measures. Among them are:
• requiring county councils and unitary authorities in England to provide support and ensure safe accommodation for victims and their children;
• extending the previous pledge to ban abusers from cross-examining their victims in family courts to apply to all family proceedings where there is evidence of domestic abuse;
• the government funding court costs for police applying for domestic abuse protection orders and protection notices;
• incorporating new trends, such as tech through which abusers control their victim; and
• including economic abuse in the definitions of domestic abuse, to raise awareness of this type of abuse.
Separately, the ministry of justice has secured £5m of funding to pilot new, integrated domestic abuse courts which consider family and criminal matters in parallel. The money is part of a £90m-package awarded to the ministry in the government’s March budget to make streets safer, improve community sentences and support victims of rape and domestic abuse.