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Violence Against Women and Domestic Abuse Bill - in the news !

Violence Against Women and Domestic Abuse Bill - in the news !

Sarah Everard murder

The murder case of Sarah Everard hit the headlines last week and shone an important spotlight on the hope for a safer world for women to live in.  No.10 has responded with immediate action to provide an additional £25m for better lighting and CCTV as well as a pilot scheme which would see plain-clothes officers in pubs and clubs.

Violence is closer to home for many men and women who suffer domestic abuse on a regular basis.

Domestic Abuse Bill & misogyny – changes are afoot

Also in the news this week, there has been mass demonstrations outside Parliament as on Monday as The House of Lords debated changes to the Domestic Abuse Bill, including the subject of misogyny – the hatred for or prejudice against women.

If passed, there are a number of suggested new changes to the Domestic Abuse Bill including two key changes that campaigners want to include:

  1. Tougher sentencing for acts of misogyny – making this a ‘hate crime’ would allow police to keep improved data on what crimes have misogyny as an aggravating factor; and

  2. The call to have a ‘Stalkers Register’ – where police would potentially have a national database and access requiring stalkers to be registered, monitored and supervised. It would hold details of those convicted of offences such as harassment, stalking and coercive control.

The Domestic Abuse Bill debates include suggested changes such as:

  • the establishment of a Domestic Abuse Commissioner

  • to prohibit cross-examination in person in family proceedings in certain circumstances

  • to make provision about certain violent or sexual offences, and offences involving other abusive behaviour, committed outside the United Kingdom; and for connected purposes

as well as the process of how domestic abuse is reported and cases handled in the UK.

Emma Piff

Emma Piff, Head of Family Law at Lawson-West Solicitors and Resolution Accredited specialist in Domestic Abuse adds to the debate:

“Amidst the irony that this month saw “International Women’s Day”, a day of celebration about all things female, the month has reminded us of the inherent dangers of being female, and that violence, hatred and abuse do exist. 

I see many family members who seek advice about domestic abuse, often at the hands of the people they trust most in the world. They have few options, especially if they have children, few friends, no savings and no family members to turn to. Domestic violence can be a terrifying experience to endure and get away from, safely.

I do hope the Domestic Violence Act* is updated for the better and that misogyny and violent crimes against both men and women can be supported with tougher sanctions and new laws. We wait to hear on the outcome from the second reading and final report.”

For Family Law or relationship issues support please contact Emma Piff, Head of Family Law at Lawson-West Solicitors.


Family law legislation and news:

The Domestic Abuse Bill

The Domestic Abuse Bill – discussions in progress

*Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004

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