When most people close their front door at night, they can block out the world, sort the kids or the dinner out and stick the telly on. For approximately 2 million people though, night times at home can be when the terror really starts.

The government has published a ground breaking draft domestic abuse bill to support victims and their families and pursue offenders. This is following a consultation where more than 3200 responses were received, many from specialist charities who do incredible work.

I worked in family law for the best part of two decades. I have sat with men and women crying through their efforts to explain to me how a single day is really twenty four separate hours for their abuser to find creative ways to scare them. I have held hands with people in court when their abuser is sat across the room. I have seen how the great communicating technology of mobile phones is used to track and control so going to work is no respite. I also know just how difficult it is to document the subtle control that can be wielded by the person who knows you best.

We need national conversation about domestic abuse. The reality is that there has probably been a long journey of strange, controlling or harassing behaviour before fists start flying around. I have worked with people who would have preferred violence to the constant undermining of every single thing they try to do. This bill and public awareness will help us all recognise signs much earlier.

Domestic abuse affects 6% of all adults across England and Wales. Many of those adults have children who therefore live with abuse and while, the vast majority of victims are female, men suffer too and we must not forget that.

The bill provides a package of measures that includes 120 commitments to tackle this horrific crime, including the first ever statutory definition of domestic abuse – to specifically include economic abuse, controlling and manipulative non physical abuse. There will be a Domestic Abuse commissioner and strengthened orders that the police and others can obtain for victims.

A few points below:

· See the first statutory definition of domestic abuse in the draft bill in the photograph above.

· Non-legislative actions will see further support for children affected by domestic abuse.

· Non-legislative actions will include support for elderly, disabled, male and migrant victims and those in the LGBTQ community.

· We are barring abusers from cross-examining their victims in the family courts and giving courts greater powers, including new protection orders, to tackle this hideous crime.

· The bill will mean that perpetrators should attend rehabilitation programmes if alcohol is a factor in the abuse.

· The new measures include £8 million of Home Office funding to support children affected by domestic abuse as well as supporting survivors by bolstering the protection for victims and helping to expose and bring the vile abusers to justice.

Link to the government announcement is here:…/government-publishes-landmark-domestic…

Leave a Reply