Domestic Abuse Act 2021: how will the new law help to protect victims of domestic abuse?14th May 2021 3:10 pm Comments Off on Domestic Abuse Act 2021: how will the new law help to protect victims of domestic abuse?
On 29 April 2021, the Domestic Abuse Bill passed through both Houses of Parliament and was signed into law. The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 is landmark legislation that will provide further protections to the millions of victims of domestic abuse in England and Wales.
The new measures include:
- A wide-ranging legal definition of domestic abuse, which includes physical or sexual abuse, violent or threatening behaviour, controlling or coercive behaviour, economic abuse and psychological or emotional abuse.
- Explicit recognition of children as victims of domestic abuse if they see, hear or experience the effects of domestic abuse;
- The appointment of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, who must encourage the prevention of domestic abuse; the detection, investigation and prosecution of offences involving domestic abuse; the identification of those who carry out domestic abuse; and the provision of protection and support to those affected by domestic abuse;
- New powers for dealing with domestic abuse, including domestic abuse protection notices (providing victims with immediate protection from abusers) and domestic abuse protection orders (to help prevent offending by forcing perpetrators to take steps to change their behaviour, including seeking mental health support or drug and alcohol rehabilitation);
- A duty on local authorities in England to provide support to victims of domestic abuse and their children in refuges and other safe accommodation;
- Special measures to protect victims and witnesses in legal proceedings, including that abusers will no longer be allowed to directly cross-examine their victims; and
- New offences involving abusive or violent behaviour, including coercive and controlling behaviour; disclosure of private sexual photographs and films; and strangulation or suffocation.
For most victims of domestic abuse, these new measures are long overdue. It is hoped that appropriate measures are now in place to keep vulnerable adults and children safe.
If you are seeking confidential legal advice about domestic abuse, do not hesitate to contact one of experienced family solicitors on 01628 631051 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book an initial one-hour consultation for £150 including VAT.
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This post was written by Colemans Solicitors LLP