New laws protecting victims of domestic abuse added to Domestic Abuse Bill
New laws protecting victims of violence will be included as part of the upcoming Domestic Abuse Bill, it has been revealed.
The announcement comes after a “raft of new amendments” were presented to Parliament this week.
Here’s everything you need to know about the changes that reportedly provide “greater protections for victims” and “further clamp down on perpetrators”:
A new criminal offence
The amendments include making non-fatal strangulation a specific criminal offence, punishable by up to five years in prison. This comes after reports that perpetrators were often avoiding punishment as the practice can leave “no visible injury”, thus making it harder to prosecute under existing Actual Bodily Harm (ABH) laws.
Stamping out controlling or coercive behaviour
Under the new laws, there will no longer be a requirement for abusers and victims to live together where controlling or coercive behaviour is alleged.
A Government review revealed that ex-partners are often “subjected to sustained or increased controlling or coercive behaviour post-separation”.
“Revenge porn” laws
Existing “Revenge porn” laws will be strengthened to include threats to disclose intimate images with the “intention to cause distress”.
What else you need to know
The legislation, delayed by two general elections and the Covid-19 pandemic, will also establish a new statutory definition of domestic abuse, “emphasising that it can be more than just physical violence”, and prohibit perpetrators from cross-examining witnesses in family courts in England and Wales, among other changes.
The Domestic Abuse Bill is expected to proceed to the House of Lords report stage on 08 March.
Are you a victim of domestic abuse? For advice and support, please get in touch with our expert family law team today.