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New legislation to combat domestic violence in the UK

The Government has introduced new proposals to takle domestic violence in the 2017 Queen’s Speech.  Theresa May’s government is planning to introduce the “Draft Domestic Violence and Abuse” legislation which “will provide a statutory definition of this hideous crime, ensure robust protective orders are available and that victims get the justice they deserve”.

Click here to read our advice if you have suffered domestic violence in your relationship.

Yesterday’s deal with the DUP should mean that the Government has a majority to bring this new bill into law. However, the law will only apply to England & Wales, not Scotland nor Northern Ireland (who have devolved responsibility in this area).

The Government has justified its proposals by stating some “key facts”:

  • The 2015/16 Crime Survey for England and Wales indicates 7.7% of women and 4.4% of men reported having experienced any type of domestic abuse in the last year. This is the lowest level since the survey began.
  • Data from 2015/16 shows that 11% of all offences recorded by the police were
    flagged as domestic abuse related.
  • The volume of prosecutions and convictions for domestic abuse are at the highest ever recorded. In 2015/16 prosecutions reached 100,930 and convictions 75,235.
  • Around 1 in 5 children have been exposed to domestic abuse. Those who witnessed domestic abuse as a child were more likely to experience domestic abuse as an adult.

The proposals for the draft Domestic Violence and Abuse legislation will include:

  • To establish a Domestic Violence and Abuse Commissioner, to stand up for victims and survivors, raise public awareness, monitor the response of statutory agencies and local authorities and hold the justice system to account in tackling domestic abuse.
  • To define domestic abuse in law to underpin all other measures in the Bill.
  • To create a consolidated new domestic abuse civil prevention and protection order regime.
  • To ensure that if abusive behaviour involves a child, then the court can hand down a sentence that reflects the devastating life-long impact that abuse can have on the child.

Further details can be obtained from the Cabinet Office: Queen’s Speech 2017: background briefing notes

Domestic Violence

Silenced by Zak Cannon

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