Since becoming law, the measures set out by the Domestic Abuse Act have been gradually introduced, with more expected to come this Spring. The new measures will specifically help survivors accessing the court system, as part of a wider plan to provide greater support for survivors and take a tougher stance on perpetrators.
The latest measures to be introduced will include:
Leeway has campaigned for a lot of these measures for quite a while, so we are pleased to see them introduced and immediately providing greater protection for survivors.
In particular, it is fantastic to see the prohibition of cross-examination in family courts, which has been an opportunity for the perpetrator to cross-examine their victim and effectively a continuation of the abuse.
The introduction of a new offence for non-fatal strangulation will hopefully give the courts greater powers and will put an end to the “rough sex” defence that is often used by perpetrators.
It is also great to see an extension to coercive control laws, recognising that survivors can still be controlled by perpetrators even once a relationship has ended.
We hope that these measures will give confidence to survivors accessing the legal system and improve the experience they have.
There are still issues with the court system though, which we touched upon when we spoke to the Norwich Evening News recently.
It is important that these problems are resolved to encourage survivors to come forward and access legal support, ensuring that perpetrators are held accountable for their actions.
These new measures will help to encourage people to engage with the process and will hopefully lead to tougher action on perpetrators, but awareness is needed to highlight the support available for survivors and how they can access this.
Awareness of domestic abuse has improved over the past couple of years, but there is still more to be done to highlight the more subtle forms of abuse.
We will keep supporters updated with the progress of the Act, as well as campaigning to ensure that it works to support everyone experiencing domestic abuse.
Read the government’s full implementation timeline.