It is estimated that almost two million adults in England and Wales have been victims of domestic abuse in the past year, with 95 people having been killed by current or former partners in 2016-17.
It is in this context that the government is setting out wide-ranging new proposals for dealing with domestic abuse. The proposals (still to be consulted upon) include:
• Tougher criminal sentences where individuals are convicted of domestic abuse where children are involved
• Giving domestic abuse victims the same status as slavery or sex offence victims
• Greater support for and sensitivity towards victims giving evidence in court
• A new definition of ‘economic’ domestic abuse (e.g. victims being bullied into taking out loans)
• Allowing police greater freedom to disclose to potential victims information about previous violent offending by a new partner
• The electronic tagging of suspected domestic abusers
• The bringing in of Domestic Abuse Protection Orders (DAPOs) that would allow police and courts to intervene earlier where abuse is suspected
• The creation of an independent domestic abuse commissioner
Although the proposals have been broadly well-received, there are some who question the government’s commitment to a long-term, sustainable funding plan for the refuge services and facilities that are so crucial in giving victims a viable escape route.
The consultation period will run until 31 May.
If you require further advice or want to speak to a member of our Family Law team contact Carline Gayle - Buckle at CarlineG@moore-tibbits.co.uk or call 01926 491181