• Spencer Payne

What Are The Amendments To The Domestic Violence Bill?

In April, the landmark domestic abuse bill received Royal Assent, which means that it has completed all the parliamentary stages it needs to go through and the Queen can then formally agree to make it into an Act of Parliament (law).

For the first time in history, there will be legal definitions of domestic abuse that cover more than simply physical violence, such as economic abuse and emotional, coercive and controlling behaviour.

Other amendments featured in the Act include extending the controlling offence to cover post-separation abuse, recognising children as victims if they experience, hear or see the effects of abuse and placing a duty on local authorities to provide support to victims and their children in refuges and other safe accommodation.

Nicole Jacobs, domestic abuse commissioner, said at the time: “The act sets out my legal powers which I will use to support all victims across England and Wales by first tackling the postcode lottery of services.  

“So many campaigners, charities and individuals have worked incredibly hard to make the bill as robust as possible and there is no doubt that the legislation, which now includes non-fatal strangulation as a standalone offence, is much stronger as a result.”

The non-fatal strangulation amendment now makes it an offence to intentionally strangle another person or commit any other act that affects someone’s ability to breathe, with jail terms of up to five years if convicted.

And the bill also now ensures that perpetrators of abuse will no longer be able to cross-examine their victims in person in civil and family courts across England and Wales.

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