26-03-2018

Consultation on Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse comes in many forms and in recognition of this the government has put forward proposals for new laws which would transform the country’s approach to this terrible crime.

The consultation, which was launched on the 8th March, will seek views on measures to be included in the government’s draft Domestic Abuse Bill.

The consultation team aims to hear from all those who have been affected by abuse, from survivors, frontline professionals, charities and the public.

The draft Domestic Abuse Bill already includes new Domestic Abuse Protection Orders to better shield victims against further abuse by enabling courts to impose a range of conditions on abusers. These could be compulsory alcohol treatment, attending a programme to address their underlying attitudes or addictions, and using electronic tagging to monitor them. Under the proposals, breaching the order would become a criminal offence.

The bill drafters have also proposed the creation of a statutory aggravating factor in sentencing, similar to those already in law for hate crimes, for domestic abuse to toughen sentences when it involves or affects a child, 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.

A partner comments “This year we celebrated the centenary of achieving votes for women in this country. But while we have made great strides towards equality and opportunities for women, the fact there are still thousands of people suffering from domestic abuse shows how much work we still have to do”.