A landmark Bill which will strengthen support for victims of domestic abuse and will see stronger punishments for offenders has been welcomed by Rachel.

The Government’s Domestic Abuse Bill was introduced to Parliament yesterday (July 16th), signalling a major step forward in transforming the response to this crime.

The Bill is the most comprehensive package ever presented to Parliament to tackle domestic abuse, both supporting victims and bringing perpetrators to justice.

The Government worked with key stakeholders and charities on the Bill and 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 then published in January 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 Committee published a report on the draft bill in June and made a set of recommendations which the government has considered carefully.

Measures in the Bill include:

  • introducing the first ever 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
  • 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

In welcoming the Bill, Rachel said:

“Domestic abuse is an horrific crime and we must do everything we can to support victims, as well as ensuring offenders face the full weight of the law.

“A lot of hard work has gone into the creation of this Bill, from charities and campaigners, to Ministers and opposition MPs, I pay tribute to everyone involved. I’m proud to have played a small part during my time as a PPS in the Home Office.

“The needs of victims are at the heart of this Bill, and the measures included go further than ever before in tackling this horrific crime.”