Philip Dunne MP has welcomed passage of the Domestic Abuse Bill through its latest stage in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
Some two million people are victims of domestic abuse each year, of whom two thirds are women. More than one in ten of all offences recorded by the police relate to domestic abuse. Conservatives made a manifesto commitment to deliver a Domestic Abuse Bill to transform the approach of the justice system and wider agencies, in order to ensure victims have the confidence to come forward.
This Bill will define domestic abuse in law, and establish a Domestic Abuse Commissioner to stand up for victims and survivors. It will create a statutory presumption that victims should be eligible for special measures in criminal courts, like giving evidence via video link, and will prohibit perpetrators of abuse from cross examining victims in person in family courts.
Mr Dunne said: “I am really pleased by getting the Domestic Abuse Bill to start its progress through the House of Commons with widespread cross-party support, which should ensure it can be concluded in the next session of Parliament.
I know from women who raise issues with me in confidence in some of my advice surgeries and from a previous visit to the women’s refuge in the constituency, how horrifying and debilitating being a victim of domestic abuse can be. The impact can last a lifetime. The debate was an example of the House at its best, with many moving speeches from both sides of the Chamber, most notably from Labour MP Rosie Duffield, who spoke candidly and incredibly bravely about her own experience.
I shall continue to support this legislation to ensure it becomes law as soon as possible.”
The Bill would also create the framework for two new civil protection orders:
• Domestic Abuse Protection Notices (DAPN), which could be given by the police to “secure the immediate protection of a victim from future domestic abuse carried out by a suspected perpetrator”. Where a DAPN has been given, the chief officer of police of the relevant force must apply within a 48-hour period to a magistrates’ court for a Domestic Abuse Protection Order.
• Domestic Abuse Protection Orders (DAPO), which can be granted by a court on application by certain categories of person (including the police, where a DAPN has been given) and may contain “prohibitions or requirements for the purpose of preventing the perpetrator from being abusive towards his or her victim”.