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Update on the Domestic Abuse Bill

Domestic Abuse Bill

24 July 2020
Update on the Domestic Abuse Bill

The Domestic Abuse Bill passed through the House of Commons on 6 July, and had its first reading in the House of Lords on 7 July. The Bill, as introduced to the House of Lords, contained the following measures:

  • A statutory definition of domestic abuse, which includes the recognition of economic abuse, and tech abuse as a form of coercive or controlling behaviour using smart technology. Tech abuse includes use of smart locks or cameras to control or spy on a partner or ex-partner
  • The Office of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner is put into statute
  • The introduction of domestic abuse protection orders, which will replace domestic violence protection orders and will be available in both criminal and family jurisdictions
  • Victims of offences related to domestic abuse will be automatically eligible for special measures, on a par with victims of sexual offences
  • A clause relating to the so-called ‘rough sex defence’, which sets out the fact that a person may not consent to the infliction of serious harm and, by extension, is unable to consent to their own death
  • Recognition that children are victims of domestic abuse in their own right, rather than bystanders. The bill will also place a duty on local authorities in England to provide support to victims to domestic abuse and their children in refuges and other safe accommodation
  • Family court will be able to prohibit cross-examination of victims by perpetrators
  • Domestic abuse offenders may be subject to polygraph testing as a condition of their licence following their release from custody
  • Guidance supporting the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme is put on a statutory footing
  • Eligible victims will be prioritised by the local authority in relation to providing accommodation and it will be easier for victims to secure lifetime tenancies

The progress of the Bill can be followed here and you can read a summary of it here.

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