Today the Government, led by Boris Johnson, have announced that a raft of new amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill will be presented this week – delivering the support victims need to feel safer while further clamping down on abusers.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, this Government has done everything it can to protect everyone in this country – but we know some communities are still particularly vulnerable.
This report shows that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution and that while outcomes have improved for some ethnic minority groups since the first wave there is still more to be done.
That is why I'm delighted this Bill will be amended to:
- Create a statutory definition of domestic abuse, emphasising that domestic abuse is not just physical violence, but can also be emotional, coercive or controlling, and economic abuse.
- Establish in law the office of Domestic Abuse Commissioner and set out the Commissioner’s functions and powers.
- Provide for a new Domestic Abuse Protection Notice and Domestic Abuse Protection Order.
- Place a duty on local authorities in England to provide support to victims of domestic abuse and their children in refuges and other safe accommodation.
- Prohibit perpetrators of abuse from cross-examining their victims in person in the civil and family courts in England and Wales.
- Create a statutory presumption that victims of domestic abuse are eligible for special measures in the criminal, civil and family courts.
- Clarify by restating in statute law the general proposition that a person may not consent to the infliction of serious harm and, by extension, is unable to consent to their own death.
- Extend the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the criminal courts in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to further violent and sexual offences.
- Enable domestic abuse offenders to be subject to polygraph testing as a condition of their licence following their release from custody.
- Place the guidance supporting the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (“Clare’s law”) on a statutory footing.
- Provide that all eligible homeless victims of domestic abuse automatically have ‘priority need’ for homelessness assistance.
- Ensure that where a local authority, for reasons connected with domestic abuse, grants a new secure tenancy to a social tenant who had or has a secure lifetime or assured tenancy (other than an assured shorthold tenancy) this must be a secure lifetime tenancy.
I am certain that this Bill - which delivers on a manifesto commitment to “support all victims of domestic abuse and pass the Domestic Abuse Bill”. Moreover, I'm certain that this Bill will provide greater support to the 2.4 million victims of domestic abuse every year. I look forward to supporting this Bill and ensuring that the residents of Bournemouth West are safer, benefit from more protection under the law and that abusers are properly punished.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse and need immediate support, please reach out to:
Domestic Abuse Helpline for Dorset (You First):
0800 032 5204