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Victims of domestic violence to be given more time to report crimes, Government reveals

Victims of domestic abuse will be given more time to report violent crimes, it has been announced.

The new laws will be added to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Bill.

Under the changes, victims of domestic abuse will be allowed more time to report incidents of common assault or battery against them. Currently, prosecutions must commence within six months of the offence.

Instead, this requirement will be moved to six months from the date the incident is formally reported to the police – with an overall time limit of two years from the offence to bring a prosecution.

It comes after research revealed that domestic abuse is often reported late relative to other crimes.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will also introduce new laws to protect the public from sexual crimes.

For example, taking non-consensual photographs or video recordings of breastfeeding mothers (for the purposes of sexual gratification or to humiliate, alarm or distress the person depicted) will be made a specific offence punishable by up to two years in prison.

This follows the introduction of “upskirting” laws in 2019, which have so far resulted in 30 criminal prosecutions.

Commenting on the new legislation, Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Raab said: “We’re giving the victims of domestic abuse longer to report the offence to the police – so abusers don’t evade justice.

“And we will introduce a new offence to stop people filming or taking photos of mothers breast feeding without their consent – because no new mum should be harassed in this way.”

Domestic Abuse Commissioner Nicole Jacobs added: “It is important that all domestic abuse victims have the time and opportunity to report to the police. This is especially important following Covid restrictions, when many victims faced additional challenges to seeking help and reporting domestic abuse.”

Have you been accused of committing a crime? We help clients through all stages of the criminal justice process. For advice and representation, get in touch with our expert team today.

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