Domestic abuse survivors keep up the pressure

Brexit can be accused of many things – stagnation in the economy, a decline in the property market, and a slowdown in investment to name but three. Brexit can also be blamed for important issues which affect the legal profession, as well as having repercussions for the public at large.

The government’s plan to suspend Parliament back in September and the subsequent court cases and Parliamentary votes this brought about, caused no fewer than 12 important government bills to be at best delayed, or lost for good. The suspension of Parliament, and now the forth-coming general election, means that any bills making their way through the House of Commons or Lords have been dropped, and will only be re-submitted if the new government chooses to present them to the next session of Parliament. Even if they are carried over any progress on the reading of these bills so far will be lost and MPs and Peers must start their scrutiny again from the beginning.

Divorce law

One of the proposed bills going through Parliament was a plan to reform divorce law to allow couples to start immediate divorce proceedings, should both parties wish to end the relationship on friendly terms. Current legislation dictates that unless allegations of fault are made couples must wait up to five years to officially separate.

The new law would do away with the need to “blame” the other party for the breakdown of the marriage, and so encourage amicable separations that were much cheaper and much less disruptive to families. Campaigners had pressed for years for this change which has now been delayed indefinitely.

Domestic Abuse Bill

Another proposal, which had support across all political parties, was a bill to re-define domestic abuse in order to help victims and the public understand more clearly what constitutes abuse, and with the aim of getting more people to come forward to access protection. The new law would also prohibit abusers from cross-examining their victims in court, provide additional safeguards for victims, and strengthen the support offered by local authorities and other agencies.

The government’s own figures state that there are 2 million victims of domestic abuse every year, of which two-thirds are women. More than one in ten of all offences recorded by the police are related to domestic abuse, with many more cases going unreported.

It is clear that both these bills need to be brought before the new Parliament as soon as possible after the election, and we must all hope that the new Prime Minister, from whichever political party, treats them with renewed urgency.

At Bretherton Law we know that it can be stressful and complicated when relationships break down, so turning to an experienced Family Law or Child Law Solicitor is the sensible choice. We have been helping families with changes in their circumstances for over 50 years, and have built an enviable reputation for our professional service and honest advice. We are members of Resolution and are accredited in Family Law by the Law Society.

Call Sandra Bradley on 01727 869293, or make an appointment using the contact form below.