The Westminster government is to extend the deadline for domestic violence survivors in England and Wales to report common assault or battery against them.
Currently, prosecutions must start within six months of the offence. Under a proposed amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, that becomes within six months of the date police are formally told of the incident.
Domestic abuse is often reported later than other crimes, so the change will ensure victims have enough time to seek justice and perpetrators answer for their actions, the government argues.
But there will be a two-year limit between the offence being committed and a prosecution to prevent police from being inundated with historical reports.
Domestic Abuse Commissioner Nicole Jacobs commented: “It is important that all domestic abuse victims have the time and opportunity to report to the police. This is especially important following Covid restrictions, when many victims faced additional challenges to seeking help and reporting domestic abuse.
“I want to see increased prosecutions for domestic abuse, and hope to see that as these measures remove another barrier to bringing perpetrators to justice.”
The proposed amendments have to be debated and passed by parliament before becoming law.