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Landmark Domestic Abuse Bill receives Royal Assent

Landmark Domestic Abuse Bill receives Royal Assent

​Last week the Domestic Abuse Bill received Royal Assent. The Domestic Abuse Act, which has now been signed into law, will provide vital protection to the many people across England and Wales who experience domestic abuse. It also significantly strengthens measures available to tackle perpetrators of domestic violence.

The Domestic Abuse Act is the product of many years of work and lobbying across the women’s sector. It involved the collaboration of brave victims and survivors, domestic abuse charities and the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, who together worked tirelessly to make the bill as robust as possible.

Providing a safe environment

The bill now includes a wide-ranging definition of domestic abuse. As well as physical abuse, it also includes emotional, coercive, or controlling behaviour, and economic abuse.  Other key areas include:

  • New protections and support for victims will ensure abusers will no longer be allowed to directly cross-examine their victims in the family and civil courts
  • Victims will get better access to special measures in the courtroom to help prevent intimidation, including protective screens and giving evidence via video link
  • Police will have new powers including Domestic Abuse Protection Notices to provide victims with immediate protection from abusers
  • Courts will be able to hand out new Domestic Abuse Protection Orders to help prevent offending. These will force perpetrators to take steps to change their behaviour, including seeking mental health support or drug and alcohol rehabilitation
  • Criminalising threats to disclose and share intimate images
  • Creation of a new offence of non-fatal strangulation
  • Clarifying the law to clamp down on claims of rough sex gone wrong in cases involving death or serious injury

Delivering change

Erica Kemp, Director and Head of Family Law said. “We are delighted that the Domestic Abuse Act has now become law. We look forward to seeing the changes implemented quickly, so that courts can deliver a safe system that better protects survivors of domestic violence and their children.”

Erica continued. “It’s very positive that the new law not only extends the controlling or coercive behaviour offence to cover post-separation abuse, but also explicitly recognises children as victims if they see, hear or experience the effects of abuse.”

Erica concludes. “The reforms will enable an early response to domestic abuse situations by way of community interventions, quality assured behaviour change programmes and risk management systems. A more investigative, problem-solving approach to domestic violence will provide justice and protection to victims and survivors coupled with support for perpetrators so that they get to the root.

Free initial meeting for support and advice

We have a vast amount of experience in both domestic abuse and family matters and offer a free 30-minute appointment where we can support and guide you in the right direction. Thanks to our network of offices covering Coventry, Leamington, Nuneaton, Stratford-upon-Avon and Southam we are very accessible too. For timely and quality advice, please contact Erica Kemp, Director and Head of Family Law at Alsters Kelley Solicitors Ltd on 01926 356045 or email erica.kemp@alsterskelley.com


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