Update on the Domestic Abuse Bill
Recent twists and turns within the Houses of Parliament and Supreme Court have meant the DA Bill has stopped processing through legislative steps.
The Domestic Abuse Bill, introduced with cross-party support by Theresa May's government in July, promised a number of things for those of us working in domestic abuse. Boris Johnson, amidst all the confusion and debate around the poroguing of parliament has agreed the bill will be reintroduced in the next parliament — and will be raised in the Queen's Speech.
For those that need to know what this will mean, once legislated:
- This Bill proposed the first government definition of domestic abuse, including financial abuse and controlling and manipulative non-physical behaviour.
- It would place a legal duty on councils to offer secure homes for those fleeing violence, and their children.
- Creating a Domestic Abuse Commissioner, to champion survivors and hold local and national government to account. This position has now been advertised and filled. Nicole Jacobs takes up this post with many years experience of working in this field.
- Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and Domestic Abuse Protection Orders, allowing police and courts to intervene earlier where abuse is suspected. The new version will be a crime to breach, unlike the current DVPNs and DVPOs.
- Prohibit the cross-examination of victims by their abusers in the family courts
Despite the current Bill having had its first reading in the Commons, the matter will have to begin again. The good news is that it is now agreed and confirmed that this process will happen again.