News | Published September 13 2019

Domestic abuse bill to be reintroduced following prorogation of parliament

A bill introduced by Theresa May’s government in July will be reintroduced by prime minister Boris Johnson in the Queen’s speech on October 14.

The legislation was dropped following the prorogation of parliament, which resulted in the suspension of proceedings at Westminster.

Johnson tweeted “Domestic abuse shatters lives & tears families apart. We are fully committed to tackling this horrific crime”.

The legislation is intended to ensure councils provide shelter for the victims of domestic abuse.

The bill is to provide support for those who require secure homes, having been forced to flee violence, often with their children.

The bill will provide the first ever governmental definition of domestic abuse, and is believed to extend to non-physical behaviour, including financial abuse and manipulation.

It is currently believed that there are two million victims of domestic abuse every year in England and Wales.

Spending directed towards victims of this abuse has fallen from £31 million in 2010, to £23 million in 2017.

The charity, Women’s Aid, said that services were currently being performed "on a shoestring", while other charities noted that they were often forced to turn women away due to the fact they were unable to cope with the demand.

The bill will apply to England and Wales and will allow for the formation of a Domestic Abuse Commissioner, used to represent survivors.

The bill will also see the creation of Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and Domestic Abuse Protection Orders, which will allow state intervention when abuse is suspected at the earliest possible junction.

The bill will also prohibit victims from being cross-examined by their abusers in court.

Former victims minister, Victoria Atkins, noted that when the bill was first introduced in July, it tackled "an injustice that has long needed to be tackled".

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Authored by

Alice Jaspars
Culture Editor
September 13 2019

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