Boris Johnson has responded recently to Women’s groups and confirmed that the Government will reconsider the reintroduction of the domestic abuse legislation. This was first considered by Parliament in July 2019. Mr Johnson announced on the 12th September 2019: ‘Domestic abuse shatters lives and tears families apart. We are fully committed to tackling this horrific crime – which is why the Queen’s Speech will confirm we will be reintroducing domestic abuse legislation in the next session.’

It has been reported that domestic violence murders have reached a five year high. It is recorded that around 2 women a week are killed by their partner or an ex partner. Approximately 2 million people were affected by domestic abuse in 2018.

One of the proposed changes in the legislation with regards to the domestic abuse bill would prohibit cross examination to be completed by alleged abusers. To help tackle the crime, new legislation will also deal with the following:

  • introduce the first ever statutory government definition of domestic abuse to specifically include economic abuse and controlling and manipulative non-physical abuse – this will enable everyone, including victims themselves, to understand what constitutes abuse and will encourage more victims to come forward
  • establish a Domestic Abuse Commissioner to drive the response to domestic abuse issues
  • introduce new Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and Domestic Abuse Protection Orders to further protect victims and place restrictions on the actions of offenders
  • prohibit the cross-examination of victims by their abusers in the family courts
  • provide automatic eligibility for special measures to support more victims to give evidence in the criminal courts

The Government will need to ensure that the legislation can be effective in order to ensure that victims of domestic abuse are protected adequately. The necessary funding will be required for legal aid, support services, education and wider Government policies.

It is hoped that the proposals to the domestic abuse legislation is considered by Parliament and reconsidered as a priority.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse and require assistance from our family solicitors then please do not hesitate to contact our offices for further advice and assistance.