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Domestic Abuse Bill set to Change

February 15 2019

Domestic abuse has long been a crime of scrutiny within the UK, with various definitions and contextual factors being attributed to each case. Changes to family law in the UK has seen multiple variations in terms of how abuse is responded to by support networks and dealt with by law enforcement.

In January, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, David Gauke, together with the Home Office, published a bill serving to transform responses to Domestic Abuse, specifically within the courtroom.

The document entitled ‘Transforming the Response to Domestic Abuse: Consultation Response and Draft Bill January 2019’ has come in from broad welcome by campaigners for justice. According to The Guardian, the social cost of domestic abuse in 2016-17 was £66bn, which was more than the amount caused by alcohol and drug misuse, cigarettes and obesity combined.

One of the main and well received changes as part of the bill, includes the protection of abused victims in the courtroom. Previously, the abuser was allowed to cross-examine the victim, however, victims will now be protected from this “abhorrent practice”  

As found on the UK Human Rights Blog, the bill features some important points, four of which include:

  • More clarity on the definition of ‘domestic abuse’
  • A press titled ‘tsar’ to act as commissioner. They will be funded by the government to be responsible for the prevention of domestic abuse and to provide support for victims.
  • More powers to the police and law enforcement when acting on cases of reported abuse, preventative notices and orders.
  • Victim protection from cross-examination in the courtroom.

Many cases of domestic abuse still go unreported. Whether emotional or physical, victims of both genders often feel forced to remain in a marriage or relationship with ongoing abuse. There are support networks such as Relate and Women’s Aid that are available for those suffering with domestic relationship issues.

Grahame Stowe Bateson are a team of lawyers who are experienced in dealing with a wide variety of family law cases. Whether filing for divorce or wanting to report abuse, our skilled solicitors are just on the other end of the phone to offer legal support.

Find our contact details below:

·        Leeds City Centre - 0113 246 8163

·        Leeds Bramley - 0113 255 8666

·        Leeds Middleton - 0113 276 0044

·        Harrogate - 01423 562121

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