New provisions have been signed into law which provide legal recognition that children can be victims of domestic abuse.

The protections were signed into law by the Minister for Safeguarding and MP for Redditch, Rachel Maclean, last Wednesday (January 26th).

The new laws mean children who see, hear or experience the effects of abuse within their family, and who are related to either the abuser or victim of abuse, will themselves be classed as a victim under law.

The move comes following the granting of Royal Assent to the Government’s Domestic Abuse Act.

The Domestic Abuse Act introduces a wide range of new offences that better protect victims, including by creating a new offence of non-fatal strangulation, extending the definition of controlling or coercive behaviour to cover post-separation abuse, and creating a statutory definition for domestic abuse.

As well as that, councils will now be required to better support victims through duty to provide accommodation-based support to victims of domestic abuse and their children.

The Act also ensures offenders will be brought to justice by allowing suspects to be subject to polygraph testing and expanding the law surrounding ‘revenge porn’ to include sharing intimate images.

Rachel said:

“I believe it is vital that all young people can reach their potential and they should not be defined by these awful crimes that are totally outside their control.

“I am working with my colleagues across government to ensure that children are protected at home, at school, and in their daily lives.

“We must continue to act to stamp out domestic abuse wherever it occurs.”