Police chief welcomes new legislation to tackle domestic abuse
THE government has launched a consultation on domestic abuse, seeking new laws and stronger powers to protect and support survivors.
The consultation sets out the government’s approach to dealing with domestic abuse, seeking to address it at every stage from prevention through to rehabilitation.
Through the consultation, the government wants to obtain feedback on its draft Domestic Abuse Bill by harnessing the knowledge and expertise of victims and survivors, support organisations and research experts. They are also interested in hearing the views of professionals across policing, criminal justice, health, welfare, education and local authorities who deal with these issues every day.
David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, said: “Domestic abuse is a highly complex issue that has the potential to cause life changing harm to victims and their families.
“Therefore, reforms that seek to further recognise the many ways in which such abusive behaviour can be perpetrated, and seeks to further protect people who suffer such abuse, are welcome.
“It is essential that any such reforms consider and are interlinked with the broader response to domestic abuse, which includes the sustainable and adequate funding of refuges so those fleeing domestic abuse can do so to a place where they feel and can be safe.”
The government has proposed new Domestic Abuse Protection Orders to better shield victims against further abuse by enabling courts to impose a range of conditions on abusers, including compulsory alcohol treatment, attending programmes to address underlying attitudes and addictions, and using electronic tagging to monitor them.
Also proposed is the creation of a statutory aggravating factor in sentencing, similar to those already in law for hate crimes, and tougher sentences when domestic abuse involves or affects a child. Economic abuse will be recognised for the first time as a type of domestic abuse, covering controlling circumstances in which victims have finances withheld, are denied access to employment to transport, or are forced to take out loans and enter into other financial contracts.
Mr Keane added: “I will be taking a keen interest in reading the detail of the government’s consultation on the draft Domestic Abuse Bill and will be working both locally and nationally to response and influence the final legislation.”