subscribe: Posts | Comments

Domestic Abuse Bill: consultation open


government consultation, Domestic Abuse Bill, opinions wanted,Asking questions under four main themes – with the central aim prevention.

The Home Secretary has unveiled proposals for a landmark Domestic Abuse Bill – and invited the public to contribute views on how such a Bill should look.

In February 2017, the Prime Minister announced a new ‘programme of work’ leading towards a draft Domestic Abuse Bill to change how we think about and tackle domestic abuse. The government said it also committed an additional £20 million of funding for domestic abuse services.

In the Queen’s Speech, on 21 June 2017, Her Majesty said ‘Legislation will be brought forward to protect the victims of domestic violence and abuse.’

‘Brought forward’ – whatever that was meant to mean.

Since then these women have been killed by men – or a man is the principal suspect. As have these.

The government is now consulting on a number of ideas ‘inform its next steps’ for tackling domestic abuse. The consultation closes on 31 May 2018.


The government has said it wants to prevent domestic abuse by challenging the acceptability of abuse and addressing the underlying attitudes and norms that perpetuate it.

So it is asking questions under four main themes with the central aim of prevention running through each:

Promote awareness – to make sure everyone understands what domestic abuse is and how to tackle it.

Protect and support – to improve the safety of victims and the support available.

Pursue and deter – to ensure that perpetrators are held responsible for their actions and that the response of police and the justice system is effective.

Improve performance –to encourage all services and organisations working with domestic abuse victims or perpetrators to do so in the best way possible.

The consultation will include proposals to:

Remove one of the barriers that victims encounter in court: coming face-to-face with their alleged abuser and give domestic abuse victims the same status in court as those who have suffered modern slavery or sex offences.

This would give them the same rights to a range of special measures, such as giving evidence behind a screen or via video link;

Appoint a Domestic Abuse Commissioner to stand up for victims, monitor provision of domestic abuse services, and hold Government (local and national) to account;

Redefine and widen the definition of domestic abuse in law to recognise harmful patterns of behaviour beyond violence, given that domestic abuse is often recognised as physical, but it can take the form of psychological, sexual, emotional or financial abuse;

Create a consolidated new domestic abuse prevention and protection order regime to create a clearer pathway of protection for victims – and intervene earlier;

Make sure that, if abusive behaviour involves a child, the court can hand down a sentence that reflects the devastating life-long impact that abuse has on the child, given that data shows

Office of National Statistics data shows that adults who witnessed domestic abuse as a child in their home were far more likely to experience abuse by a partner as an adult: 34 per cent compared with 11 per cent who did not witness domestic abuse.

And evidence shows that those who suffer domestic abuse are vulnerable to other crimes such as serious sexual assault and stalking;

The government recognises that while legislation is necessary to end the harms caused by domestic abuse, it will take more than new laws to make a lasting difference, and said that £20 million in funding is being made available to increase support in specific areas.

Nearly two million people every year – the majority of them women – suffer from domestic abuse at the hands of those closest to them, and 82 women and 13 men were killed by a partner or former partner in 2016/17.

Since 2010 there has been a 26 per cent increase in domestic abuse prosecutions and a 33 per cent increase in domestic abuse convictions.

There has been a steep increase in police recorded instances of domestic abuse – a 16 per cent increase between 2015/16 and 2016/17. However, the Office of National Statistics estimates that only a fifth of victims speak to the police in the first place.

This consultation has been specially designed to make it easily accessible digitally to encourage as many people as possible to respond and input – not just professionals in the sector.

There is a shortened version of the full Government Consultation. This version is quicker and easier to complete as it contains fewer questions and uses simpler language.

A full version, which contains further and more detailed information can be reached here.

The consultation closes on 31 May 2018.

By which time Karen Ingala Smith’s heart-breaking list of names will be even longer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *