Update to the Bill

This month, the House of Commons is due to consider Lords amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill 2019-21.

The Domestic Abuse Bill introduces measures to help raise awareness of domestic abuse and is aimed at providing more protections for victims and tougher measures on perpetrators.

The proposals include (but are not limited to):

  • Making non-fatal strangulation a specific criminal offence. It will be punishable by up to 5 years in prison. This amendment follows concerns that perpetrators were avoiding punishment due to the nature of the offence, meaning that often victims did not have a visible injury which made it harder to prosecute.
  • Tightening legislation around controlling or coercive behaviour by no longer making it a requirement for the victim and the perpetrator to live together. This change follows from a government review which highlighted that abuse is often suffered on an ongoing basis, including when couples break up, and the abuser becomes an ex-partner.
  • Revenge porn will be widened to include threats to disclose images with the intention to cause distress. Since laws on revenge porn were introduced by the government in 2015, more than 900 abusers have been convicted. Those who threaten to share revenge porn images will face up to 2 years imprisonment.
  • A widened list of evidence to prove abuse has occurred, including notes from a doctor or employer, with the view to make it easier for victims who find it difficult to report abuse as they want to avoid being cross-examined.
  • Requiring public authorities responsible for conducting domestic homicide reviews to send a copy of their completed reports to the Domestic Abuse Commissioner. This is hoped to strengthen the opportunity to learn lessons and prevent future deaths.

The Complexity of Domestic Abuse Crime

These additions reflect the increasing understanding of domestic abuse as a complex crime, which can affect anyone and leave lasting damage. There are an estimated 2.4 million victims of domestic abuse a year between the ages of 16 – 74.

The changes reflect the government’s zero-tolerance attitude towards domestic abuse and will hopefully provide victims with a feeling of support and empowerment.

Here to Help

If you have been the victim of domestic abuse and would like advice about your legal options and the protective orders that may be available to you, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Family team on 0161 941 4000 or email the Myerson Family Law Team.