Domestic Abuse Bill needs cash injection, says Law Society

By agency reporter
March 21, 2019

New legislation targeting domestic abuse is likely to have precious little impact if not accompanied by significant additional money, the Law Society of England and Wales has warned in response to a parliamentary inquiry.

“Sadly, domestic abuse is still a widespread problem throughout England and Wales”, said the Law Society president, Christina Blacklaws. “The bill has the potential to change millions of lives but without a significant cash injection, legislation alone is not enough to end domestic abuse.”

The draft bill contains several key measures against domestic abuse such as:

  • The inclusion of children aged 16 and 17 in the statutory definition of domestic abuse
  • The recognition of economic abuse as a form of domestic abuse
  • Prohibiting the cross-examination of domestic abuse victims by their abuser
  • The appointment of a domestic abuse commissioner

According to Women’s Aid, over four hundred referrals to refuges in England are declined every week and an average of two deaths a week occur due to domestic abuse.

“Cuts to frontline services and the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) have had a devastating effect on the support available to victims". said Christina Blacklaws.

“Refuges are turning away hundreds of women every week and, due to legal aid criteria around shared property ownership, domestic abuse victims can find themselves both ineligible for legal aid and without housing. For the draft domestic abuse bill to be effective in its protection of victims, the government must put the necessary funding into legal aid, support services and policing and give domestic abuse victims the access to justice they so deserve.”

The House of Commons and House of Lords have jointly appointed members to a committee to scrutinise the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill.

* Committee on the Domestic Abuse Bill here

* The Law Society https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/

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