Consultation launched in bid to protect domestic abuse survivors

A domestic abuse charity in South Tyneside has welcomed the launch of a consultation into new laws and stronger powers to protect and support survivors.

Monday, 12th March 2018, 5:00 am
Updated Monday, 12th March 2018, 10:15 am
More than 20,000 women a week experience domestic abuse.

Those affected by both physical and emotional abuse at the hands of a partner or family member are being asked for their views in a bid to create new legislation in a bid to stamp out what is known as a “hidden crime”.

Frontline professionals, charities and the public are also being asked for their input to be included in the government’s draft Domestic Abuse Bill.

Julie Robinson

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The tough new approach includes new Domestic Abuse Protection Orders to better shield victims against further abuse by enabling courts to impose a range of conditions on abusers. These could be compulsory alcohol treatment, attending a programme to address their underlying attitudes or addictions, and using electronic tagging to monitor them. Under the proposals, breaching the order would become a criminal offence.

Courts will also be asked to take into account where the domestic abuse has involved or affects a child. There will also be the introduction of a Domestic Abuse Commissioner.

Economic abuse will be recognised for the first time as a type of domestic abuse. This includes circumstances where victims have finances withheld, are denied access to employment or transport, or are forced to take out loans and enter into other financial contracts.

Julie Robinson, from Domestic Abuse charity Options and Chair of South Tyneside Domestic Abuse Forum said: “This consultation is a long time coming and we welcome any developments and changes in the law that will help protect victims of domestic abuse.

Julie Robinson

“Living with domestic abuse can have a detrimental effect on an individual’s entire life. We all need to work collectively if we are ever going to eradicate this hideous crime.”

Dame Vera Baird, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners’ lead for supporting victims and reducing harm, said: “There is positive legislation in this consultation, which must make a notable difference, but, I am glad that the government are open to discussion about possible further legislative change.”