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Domestic abuse bill - Landmark draft

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Domestic violence victims will receive more protection thanks to a bill which intends to help more victims come forward.

The aim of the Domestic Abuse Bill, if passed, is to reduce incidents of domestic violence, provide additional help for survivors, raise awareness and tackle perpetrators. 

What is in the Domestic Abuse Bill?

  1. The first statutory government definition of domestic abuse. This will include economic abuse, which means any behaviour that has a substantial adverse effect on a victim’s ability to acquire, use or maintain money or other property, or obtain goods or services.
  2. A Domestic Abuse Commissioner will be established.
  3. Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and Domestic Abuse Protection Orders will be introduced.
  4. The bill prohibits the cross examination of alleged victims by their alleged abusers in the family courts.

Publication of government research alongside the draft bill revealed that the social cost of abuse in 2016 – 2017 was more than £34,000.00 per individual victim. This adds up to over £66bn per year which is more than the cost of cigarettes, obesity and alcohol and drug misuse combined.

The proposed changes have been welcomed by campaigners. Sarah Green, co-director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition said, “The ambition and determination in the government’s announcement of the bill is very welcome given the devastation this abuse causes.” 

Katy Ghose CEO of Women’s Aid said “Although this new law is much welcomed it alone will not protect survivors in the family courts and she challenges the “contact at all costs” approach by judges which she considers puts children in danger. However, she does acknowledge that this is some way to recognising that domestic violence very disproportionately affects women and children.”

Katy also said, “We look forward to working with the government to introduce greater protection in the family courts for survivors such as special measures to safeguard them in the courtroom and ensure that children's safety is put at the heart of all decisions made by the family courts.”

If you would like more information, please contact a member of our Family Team.

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