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What is it?

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 is the first time that a definition has been produced for what constitutes ‘domestic abuse’. In summary, the following examples are provided:

  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Violent or threatening behaviour
  • Controlling or coercive behaviour
  • Economic abuse
  • Psychological, emotional or other abuse

It does not matter whether the abuse consists of a single incident of a course of conduct.

It is also the first time that children are recognised as direct victims of domestic abuse.

In addition to this, the act intends to bring into effect a number of provisions to assist in cases of domestic abuse. The act will bring into effect the option of a ‘Domestic Violence Protection Notice’ (DVPN) and a ‘Domestic Violence Protection Order’ (DVPO). This part of the act is not yet in force as the intention is for it to be implemented in early 2023.

By way of a summary, the purpose of the DVPN is to provide the police with powers which they do not currently have under the law. A Senior Police Officer will be able to provide a person ‘P’ with a notice where there are reasonable grounds for believing that P has been abusive towards a person aged 16 or over with which they are personally connected and it is believed it is necessary to give the notice to protect that person from domestic abuse. The notice may prevent P from contacting the person in question and may prevent them from coming within a particular distance of premises.

Where P is given a notice by the police, an application must then be made for a Domestic Abuse Protection Order.

The victim of domestic abuse may also make an application for a Domestic Abuse Protection Order and this is likely to work in a similar way to the existing Non-Molestation Order e.g. providing a number of exclusions and restrictions that P must comply with for the period of a year.

We must reiterative that the DVPN and DVPO schemes are not yet in force and are scheduled to be implemented in early 2023. It is at this point that the new process will be finalised.

Section 65 and 66 – Cross-Examination

Whilst the sections in relation to DVPN’s and DVPO’s are not yet in force, Section 65 and 66 came into force on 21 July 2022.

The purpose of these sections is to prohibit cross-examination in person in family and civil proceedings. They prohibit cross-examination in person of victims of domestic abuse.

Ultimately, any person who is party to the proceedings and has been convicted of or given a caution for a specified offence may not cross-examine (as a litigant in person) a witness who is the victim, or alleged victim, of that offence. This is also the case whereby a protective injunction is in place.

If you require further information or assistance, please contact our Family team on 08000 147720 or send us an email at to discuss how we can help.