Written by Rosita Mendonca
Written by Sarah Moulange
Written by Sarah Moulange
It is appalling that in 21st-Century Britain, nearly two million people every year - the majority of them women - suffer abuse at the hands of those closest to them.
The government has set out new proposals to tackle the way that perpetrators of domestic abuse are dealt with in the UK. Perpetrators could be electronically tagged under government proposals for England and Wales and could be required to attend parenting programmers or drug and alcohol treatment to hopefully reduce the risk of them carrying out further abuse.
Prime Minister Theresa May said the bill could "completely transform the way we tackle domestic abuse" by providing better protection to victims and bringing more perpetrators to justice.
She added “we know that domestic abuse affects those from all walks of life. Victims can be young and old, male and female, and I hope as many people as possible will come forward to give us their views and share their experiences, as we seek to put an end to this abhorrent crime for good.”
Currently thousands of domestic abuse victims are unable to access a service due to lack of available spaces in refuge centers. Research conducted by Women’s Aid shows 94 women and 90 children fleeing from domestic abuse were turned away from refuges on one day in England in 2017.
For the first time, Courts will be given express powers to impose electronic monitoring as a condition of the proposed domestic abuse protection orders (DAPOs). Under these recommended plans, any perpetrator who is found breaching the conditions of any DAPOs can be punishable as a criminal offence. The Domestic Abuse Bill could be a unique opportunity to make a real, long term difference in survivor’s lives that is sustainable. A government consultation on the recommended plans has stated that tagging should be alongside other conditions such as an exclusion zone, in order to monitor perpetrators in circumstances where it would be necessary and proportionate to prevent further abuse from occurring.
Kirsty Richards, head of family and childcare at the National Legal service states:
“Any changes to the law surrounding the issue of domestic abuse that goes towards offering stronger protection for victims and tougher restrictions on perpetrators can only be a good thing. The more we continue to talk about domestic violence, its impact on victims and the children of victims; the better the understanding we all have in how devastating domestic abuse can be. We need to continue the momentum that is in place in respect of how we can, as a country, do our best to help victims live safely as well as offering training & support for perpetrators to try and change their destructive behaviors.”
The proposed Bill will aim to include a new statutory definition of abuse and Economic abuse will be recognised for the first time as a type of domestic making it a punishable offence to force someone to take out loans, withholding access to wages or bank account, food, clothing and transport.
Other measures being weighed up for inclusion in the new bill include:
* The creation in law of an independent domestic abuse commissioner;
* Tougher sentences for domestic abuse that affects children;
* Enshrining in legislation the scheme known as Clare’s Law, under which police can disclose information about previous violent offending by a new or existing partner; and
*Giving domestic abuse victims the same status in court as those who have suffered modern slavery or sex offences.
National Legal Service Family law Department
At the National Legal Service we understand that situations of domestic violence are a delicate and sensitive matter, we pride ourselves in protecting survivors of domestic violence from any further abuse. Our Solicitors and Paralegals offer a range of services to survivors of domestic violence from legal aid, private funding to Pro-bono and can advise on the best way tackle the law when it comes to domestic abuse in all its forms, including abuse between partners and spouses, same sex partners and spouses, abuse towards the elderly, parent-child abuse, abuse in cohabitation, psychological abuse and financial abuse.
For expert legal advice on domestic violence, call the National Legal Service on 02036015051
The consultation period for the draft bill will run until 31 May.