On 29 April 2021, the Domestic Abuse Bill received Royal Assent and was signed into law.
This landmark bill will provide further protections to millions of people who experience domestic abuse and strengthens measures to tackle perpetrators by recognising that domestic abuse can take many forms beyond physical violence.
Helen Shaw from Tallents Solicitors in Mansfield commented: “This is the first time in history that the legal definition of domestic abuse will now include emotional, coercive or controlling behaviour, and economic abuse. Additionally, the abuse can be recognised as a single incident or a period of behaviour.”
To further help victims, some of the measures in the Act include:
- Extending the controlling of coercive behaviour offence to cover post-separation abuse
- Explicitly recognise children as victims if they see, hear or experience the effects of abuse
- Place a duty on local authorities in England to provide support to victims of domestic abuse and their children in refuges and other safe accommodation
- Provide that all eligible homeless victims of domestic abuse automatically have ‘priority need’ for homelessness assistance
- Creating a new offence of non-fatal strangulation
- Extend the ‘revenge porn’ offence to cover the threat to disclose intimate images with the intention to cause distress
- Clamping down on claims of ‘rough sex gone wrong’ in cases involving death of serious injury
The Police will also be given new powers including Domestic Abuse Protection notices providing victims with immediate protection from abusers.
Cathryn Young from Tallents Solicitors in Newark welcomed the new protections and support for victims which will ensure that abusers will no longer be able to directly cross-examine their victims in the family and civil courts and giving victims better address to special measures in the courtroom to help prevent intimidation, such as protective screens and giving evidence via video link.
Courts will also be able to hand out new Domestic Abuse Protection Orders to help prevent offending by forcing perpetrators to take steps to change their behaviour, including seeking mental health support, or drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
Our sympathetic and supportive Family Law team is here for anyone suffering from domestic abuse. We have a free family law clinic every Tuesday evening between 5pm and 7pm – just call 01636 813411 to speak to someone in confidence. We are here to help you and support you.