Domestic Abuse Bill – Update

It will hopefully be second time lucky as an enhanced version of the new Domestic Abuse Bill makes its way through parliament. A revised version of the Bill had its first reading in the House of Commons on 3rd March, many months after being first introduced in July 2019, and following its enforced abandonment because of the December General Election.

It is more than three years since Theresa May’s Government promised to end the practice of cross-examination in court of domestic abuse victims by their abusers. The revised Bill will now apply to all family proceedings where domestic abuse is alleged, as well as widening the definition of what actually constitutes domestic abuse. Court costs incurred by the police when applying for domestic abuse protection orders and notices will be covered under a government -funded pilot scheme. In addition, county councils and unitary authorities will be forced to provide safe accommodation and support for abuse victims and their children under the new Bill.

Minister for Safeguarding, Victoria Atkins said: ” This landmark Bill will help transform the response to domestic abuse, helping to prevent offending, protect victims and ensure they have the support they need.”

The new Domestic Abuse Bill will be warmly welcomed, but should be seen as only the first step in re-balancing the application of justice across all sections of society. As Law Society president Simon Davis said, “As the bill finally progresses through parliament, we urge the government to put the necessary funding into legal aid, support services, education and wider government policy – giving victims the access to justice they so deserve.”

It can be stressful and complicated when relationships break down. Bretherton Law’s experienced Family and Child Law Solicitors have been helping people with changes in their circumstances for over 50 years. We are members of Resolution and Accredited in Family Law by the Law Society. For honest, sympathetic advice call Atifha Aftab on 01727 869293, or get in touch using the contact form below.

Related Article:

Domestic Abuse Bill 2020: overarching factsheet