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The Joint Committee has now published its report on the draft Domestic Abuse Bill calling for it to be amended to offer greater protection to victims of domestic abuse.

The recommended changes to the Bill aim to ensure that those affected by Domestic Abuse receive a tailored response according to an individual’s differing needs; the Committee raised concerns regarding the effectiveness of how the new proposed measures are implemented in practice.

This in particular was aimed at ensuring the children who witness domestic abuse are also treated as victims in their own right and that public authorities provide suitable services tailored to each person’s required circumstances.

Some of the other recommendations to change the draft domestic abuse bill include:

  • The Criminal and Civil Courts to ensure they all have provision for special measures including video links and separate waiting rooms to protect witnesses coming into contact with their abusers.
  • The Committee is calling for a mandatory ban on perpetrators of domestic abuse to cross-examine their victims in family and other civil proceedings.
  • The Government announced their plans to introduce a statutory requirement for accommodation in England to be provided to all survivors of domestic abuse and this was also welcomed by the Committee.
  • A new Domestic Abuse Prevention Order is also in consideration, however the Committee would welcome a consistent application of these orders across civil and criminal courts.
  • The Committee urged the Government to bring forward legislation for the police to increase the length of time that suspects can be released on pre-charge bail in all domestic abuse cases. The Committee also called on the Government to create a presumption that suspects of domestic abuse, sexual assault or any other safeguarding matters only be released on police bail, unless it is clearly not necessary for the protection of victim.

The Chair of the Joint Committee, Mrs Maria Miller MP commented on the report, stating:

“The Bill is the culmination of many months of work and consultation and has been said by the sector to be a ‘once in a generation opportunity to address domestic violence’ and having ‘the potential to create a step change in the national response’.”

At Ramsdens, we have a team of Solicitors who are specialised in working with victims of domestic abuse and we are pleased to note that the Government are now taking positive steps to address domestic abuse and the impact this has on children.

Our team at Ramsdens are here to assist anybody who has experienced Domestic Abuse. If you would like further advice and support in relation to domestic abuse and family matters, please contact our free Family team helpline on 08000 147720 or email family@ramsdens.co.uk to arrange a free appointment in any of our fourteen offices across Yorkshire.