We’re delighted that the Domestic Abuse Bill has been passed by both Houses of Parliament, and signed into law on 29 April 2021.
The Domestic Abuse Act will help to provide further protection to victims of domestic abuse, as well as strengthen measures to tackle perpetrators. Factsheets on each of the new measures within the bill are available on GOV.UK.
How will the new Domestic Abuse Act support victims?
- By ensuring a statutory definition, to emphasise that domestic abuse is not only physical violence, but also emotional, coercive, controlling, and economic abuse. Children are also explicitly recognised as victims by seeing, hearing or otherwise experiencing the effects of abuse.
- By creating a new offence of non-fatal strangulation
- By including the threat to disclose intimate images with the intention to cause distress
- It will clarify the law to further deter claims of ‘rough sex gone wrong’ in cases involving death or serious injury
- The Domestic Abuse Commissioner is to be established in law, to raise public awareness, monitor the response of local authorities, the justice system and other statutory agencies and hold them to account in tackling domestic abuse; and to stand up for victims and survivors
- Local authorities in England will have a duty to provide support to victims of domestic abuse and their children in refuges and other safe accommodation
- It will ensure that when local authorities rehouse victims of domestic abuse, they won’t lose a secure lifetime or assured tenancy
- All eligible homeless victims of domestic abuse will automatically have priority need for homelessness assistance
- It will prohibit GPs and other health professionals from charging a victim of domestic abuse for a letter to support an application for legal aid
How will the Act strengthen measures to tackle perpetrators?
- By prohibiting perpetrators of abuse from cross-examining their victims in person in family and civil courts in England and Wales
- Domestic abuse offenders will be subjected to polygraph testing as a condition of their licence following their release from custody
- It will provide for a new Domestic Abuse Protection Notice and Domestic Abuse Protection Order, to prevent perpetrators from contacting their victims, as well as forcing them to take positive steps to change their behaviour
- By introducing a statutory duty on the Secretary of State to publish a domestic abuse perpetrator strategy (to be published as part of a holistic domestic abuse strategy).
For more information on the Domestic Abuse Bill, visit GOV.UK