The bill is the most comprehensive package ever presented to Parliament to deal with domestic abuse, both supporting victims and bringing perpetrators to justice.
Following extensive work with stakeholders and charities, the government carried out a public consultation on measures to be included in the bill that saw more than 3,200 responses.
A draft of the bill was published in January 2019 and has undergone extensive scrutiny by a Joint Committee of cross party MPs and Peers as part of the government’s collaborative approach to ensure this historic legislation is correct. The Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill published its report on 14 June 2019 and the government published its response on 16 July 2019. A further government response to the Joint Committee was published on 3 March 2020.
Measures in the bill include:
introducing the first ever all-purpose statutory government definition of domestic abuse, which will include economic abuse
establishing a Domestic Abuse Commissioner to champion victims and survivors
introducing new Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and Domestic Abuse Protection Orders to further protect victims and place restrictions on the actions of offenders
placing a duty on tier 1 local authorities in England to provide support to victims of domestic abuse and their children in refuges and other safe accommodation
prohibiting the cross-examination of victims by their abusers in the family courts
providing automatic eligibility for special measures to support more victims to give evidence in the criminal courts
placing the guidance supporting the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (“Clare’s law”) on a statutory footing