The Domestic Abuse Bill – where are we?

The Domestic Abuse Bill – where are we?

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The Domestic Abuse Bill remains with Parliament. The Bill was debated at a second reading on Tuesday 28 April 2020 and has now been sent to a Public Bill Committee. This Committee will scrutinise the Bill and is scheduled to report by Thursday 25 June 2020. Watch this space for an update!  This is good news, as the Bill has been in the early stages of approval for some time now.

During the Pandemic and necessary lockdown there has been a significant increase in domestic violence incidents and pleas for help from victims to helplines and charities. Leading charities and members of parliament have expressed concern about the safety of victims locked in toxic and abusive relationships unable to escape or seek help during lock down. This in my mind highlights once again the need for this Bill to be made into legislation as soon as possible. Regardless of Covid-19 and how this will change our lives moving forward domestic abuse sadly remains a common issue in society Lockdown has just emphasised this. There remains a real need for awareness of this to be pushed at Government level by formal legislation.

To highlight the draft Domestic Abuse Bill is important for several reasons;
• It provides a definition of coercive control much needed for its victims and professionals to be able to recognise this and support those involved in a relationship where they are being coercively controlled, or family members that are also experiencing a loved one involved in a coercive and controlling relationship:

• The Bill sets out measures with an aim to help promote and structure how other agencies like the police, teachers and health professionals deal with victims of domestic abuse consistently
• The Bill provides for the role of a Domestic Abuse Commissioner
• The Bill sets out strategies for how Domestic Abuse can be dealt with at a much earlier stage in the process to support the victim and stop the situation escalating
• Implements key changes to the Court process for victims in certain circumstances.

I, like many welcome the introduction of this much needed legislation. IBB will be keeping a close eye on what the Committee says after 25 June. This Bill will promote awareness of domestic abuse at a wider level including how this is dealt with in schools, ensure there are mechanisms in place to support victims in the right way and try to stop a dangerous situation escalating with intervention early on. For more information on this topic and why the Bill is so important please see IBB’s report.

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