New measures have been proposed to prevent domestic abuse and protect victims. A consultation has been launched by Prime Minister Theresa May, Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Justice Secretary David Gauke, asking for views on what should be included in a brand new Domestic Abuse Bill, which is currently in draft.
Although the government recognises that women and men can both be victims of domestic abuse, and the consultation will be looking at ways in which all of those affected by it can be supported, it’s true that more victims are women, especially in the most severe cases. For this reason, the government’s approach to domestic abuse forms part of its ‘Violence Against Women and Girls’ strategy.
Some of the suggestions include protecting victims of abuse from being further targeted. This involves a range of new conditions that can be enforced on the people who have hurt or abused them, keeping them from causing any further abuse. Ideas include things like
- forcing abusers to go into treatment for alcohol or drug problems
- compulsory attendance at programmes designed to address their attitudes or addictions
- monitoring them using electronic tags.
If they breached an order, it would be a criminal offence.
The Bill suggests that along with physical abuse, economic abuse will also be recognised as a type of domestic abuse. This could mean that people who try to withhold money, or access to work and transport from their partners in a bid to control their behaviour would be committing an offence. The same would apply to anyone who forced their partner to take out loans or financial agreements.
There are also plans to introduce what it calls ‘statutory aggravating factors’ in sentencing. This could mean that if domestic abuse has taken place that either involves or affects a child, it’s taken into account and the sentencing will reflect it.
A new Domestic Abuse Commissioner will also be created, to make sure that the government is doing everything it promises to do to support victims of domestic abuse.
Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“This year we celebrated the centenary of achieving votes for women in this country, but while we have made great strides towards equality and opportunities for women, the fact there are still thousands of people suffering from domestic abuse shows how much work we still have to do.”
“The consultation we are launching includes a number of proposals which have the potential to completely transform the way we tackle domestic abuse, providing better protection to victims and bringing more perpetrators to justice.
“We know that domestic abuse affects those from all walks of life. Victims can be young and old, male and female, and I hope as many people as possible will come forward to give us their views and share their experiences, as we seek to put an end to this abhorrent crime for good.”
The consultation closes on 31 May 2018.
To see the consultation document and have your say, visit the website at: