BLOG: What does the government shutdown mean for domestic abuse victims?

Domestic Abuse victim refuge

One, perhaps unforeseen, impact of the recent decision to shut down parliament is the impact that that will have on the Domestic Abuse Bill.

That bill had been introduced with cross party support by Theresa May’s government, which if made law, would have provided a number of additional critical protections and support to assist the survivors of domestic abuse.

One of the most significant provisions would have been to place a legal duty on councils to offer secure homes for those who have left their own homes in order to keep themselves and their children safe.

If passed into law the Bill would also have brought in Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and Domestic Abuse Protection Orders which would have enabled earlier intervention and put restrictions on offenders.

In addition the new bill would have defined in statute what domestic abuse actually is covering a wide range of behaviours including financial abuse and controlling/manipulative acts.

All of the provisions in the act would have helped the survivors of domestic abuse. But when parliament was shut down all bills – including the Domestic Abuse Bill – currently passing through their parliamentary stages were lost. They are only revived if the Johnson Government agrees to carry them over to the next session of parliament.

Having been asked by Domestic abuse campaigners to give a pledge to reintroduce the bill Mr Johnson tweeted:

It is unclear whether that means the Bill in its current form or some alternative proposed legislation.

Here’s why it matters:-

Domestic violence killings are at their highest level in five years.

In the last year, 173 people were killed in domestic violence related deaths – an increase of 32 deaths from the year before.

It is clear from this escalation that more needs to be done to keep those who are subjected to domestic violence safe and it is hoped that the legislation promised will come without further delay.

Each year we convene our Domestic Abuse Conference to add to the debate and what needs to be done. Let us hope by the time we convene this years that there are new protective measures in place to help those who need it.

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