DOMESTIC ABUSE BILL, 2020
At the time of writing (November 2020), the Domestic Abuse Bill 2020 is about to be sent to the House of Lords, on track to become law in due course. While the Bill is very welcome, in that it provides the opportunity to make a more effective response to domestic abuse, there are areas in which the Bill needs to be strengthened in order to meet the needs of women who are the victims of violence and coercion.
Join your voice to the many thousands who are campaigning on this issue by writing to your local MPsand to the Ministers concerned,
Alex Chalk (email@example.com and
Victoria Atkins (Victoria@victoriaatkins.org.uk).
How could the Bill be improved?
- Ensure that the legislation meets the needs of migrant women who otherwise face destitution by expanding the eligibility criteria. (Many refuges take in women who would be on the streets, with no ‘recourse to public funds’. With no funding for these women, there is a limit to the number refuges can handle.
- Every survivor who is made homeless by fleeing domestic abuse should automatically be considered in priority need for settled housing.
- Domestic abuse and sexual violence should be a strategic priority across the health and social care sector, with sustainable funding for life-saving specialist support services. (85% of domestic abuse services have had to reduce or cut some of their services during the pandemic, which the need has increased substantially.)
- Make non-fatal strangulation or suffocation a new offence. It is a tactic often used in abusive situations, and the police may not take any action because there may not be any external marks. Yet its use increases 8 fold the risk that the victim will ultimately be killed by the perpetrator. (For more information, see the following paper).
Let us hope the Bill becomes law without delay!