New Domestic Abuse Laws Introduced to Parliament

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New laws designed to support domestic abuse victims and bring perpetrators to justice have been introduced in Parliament.

The Domestic Abuse Bill has been hailed by the UK government as “a major step forward” in transforming the response to this crime, and has been drawn up following consultations with members of the public, stakeholders and charities.

Key measures include:

  • The first ever statutory government definition of domestic abuse, which will include financial abuse and controlling and manipulative behaviour
  • New Domestic Abuse Protection Notes and Protection Orders to provide additional protection to victims and impose restrictions on offenders
  • The cross-examination of victims by their abusers to be prohibited in the Family Courts
  • Giving victims automatic eligibility for special measures to support them to give evidence in the Criminal Courts
  • Establishing a Domestic Abuse Commissioner to champion victims and survivors and hold local and central government accountable on this issue

Prime Minister Theresa May commented, “We have a duty not only to bring the perpetrators of these vile crimes to justice, but to support victims as they rebuild their lives.

“This Bill will help us do just that and represents a true step-change in our approach.”

Peter Garsden, Head of Simpson Millar’s Abuse Claims department said, “The introduction of the Domestic Violence Bill to Parliament at the request and drive of Theresa May in her last days of office is a welcome addition to the Parliamentary timetable by an outgoing Prime Minister who has always had child abuse and domestic abuse at the top of her agenda.

“The bill recognises the importance of protecting the rights of the abused who are not only children, but vulnerable adults overwhelmed by an abuser in a position of power and control over them. It is a sign that government recognises the need to protect those who, to date, have been exposed to loopholes in the law, which need filling.

“Whilst we hear that the bill has cross party support, it is worrying that the next Prime Minister, who may be Boris Johnson, has responded to questions, as recently as March this year, by saying the police spending on historic child abuse was ‘spaffing money up the wall’. One hopes that the bill will not be delayed by someone who has not publicly expressed the same view that abuse is top of his political agenda.

“I worry for the victims of child abuse whose interests I have represented for the last 25 years.”

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