Domestic abuse is a cruel and complex crime that can affect anyone, leaving physical and emotional scars that can last a lifetime. While there has been a welcome gradual fall in the incidence of domestic abuse in recent years, there are still some 2 million victims a year, the majority of whom are women. Far too many individuals have their lives destroyed by abuse. We need to build a society that has zero tolerance towards domestic abuse and actively empowers victims, communities and professionals to confront and challenge it and to provide victims with the support they deserve.
That is why the government is committed to transforming the response to this terrible crime, including by introducing this landmark bill. The prevention of abuse and the protection of victims lies at the heart of the bill and our wider programme of work.
The measures in the bill seek to:
promote awareness - to put abuse at the top of everyone’s agenda, including by legislating for the first time for a statutory definition of domestic abuse
protect and support victims, including by introducing a new Domestic Abuse Protection Notice and Order
transform the justice response, including by helping victims to give their best evidence in the criminal courts through the use of video evidence, screens and other special measures, and ensuring that victims of abuse do not suffer further trauma in family court proceedings by being cross-examined by their abuser
improve performance – the new Domestic Abuse Commissioner will help drive consistency and better performance in the response to domestic abuse across all local areas and agencies