New Domestic Abuse Bill introduced

16 Jul 19

Landmark legislation to tackle domestic abuse must be backed with proper resources, councils have urged.

The government’s Domestic Abuse Bill was introduced to parliament today, signalling a “major step” towards tackling the crime.

The bill will introduce the first ever statutory definition of domestic abuse, establish a domestic abuse commissioner and bring in Domestic Abuse Protection Notices to protect victims, the government said. 

But Simon Blackburn, chair of the Local Government Association’s safer and stronger communities board, called for the bill to be backed with funding in the Spending Review.

He said: “The ability of councils to fund services for victims is limited by significant pressures on their budgets, with local authorities increasingly being forced to prioritise spending for those at immediate risk of harm, rather than on vital earlier support services and prevention schemes that help stop domestic abuse occurring in the first place.”

The bill also prohibits the cross-examination of victims by their abusers in family courts, the government said.

Prime minister Theresa May said: “Domestic abuse can take many forms, from horrific physical violence to coercive behaviour that robs people of their self-esteem, their freedom and their right to feel safe in their own homes, but the immense bravery I’ve seen demonstrated by survivors is consistent throughout.

“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.”

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