Government consultation on DV Bill
20 August 2014
Digital-Trust, CIC welcomes the government’s consultation on creating a law against domestic violence that includes coercive control. Current legislation is inadequate in dealing with the psychological and coercive nature of domestic violence.
This is a major contributory factor into the low charging and conviction rates on domestic abuse in England, Wales and Northern Ireland which in 2011 stood at just 6.5%. It is also why murder or suicide rates amongst victims of domestic violence remains far too high.
- Two women are killed every week in England and Wales through domestic abuse, a recurring number (Home Office statistics).
- 500 women who have experienced domestic abuse in the last six months commit suicide every year. Of those, just fewer than 200 attended hospital for domestic abuse on the day they died. (The Cost of Domestic abuse. Women and Equality Unit, Walby, 2004).
There is currently a DV Bill that we believe will provide the legal frame work women need. Elfyn Lwyd, MP put this before Parliament as a Private Members Bill on Domestic Violence in February 2014. A copy can be viewed at this link http://www.hfletcher.co.uk/bill
Elfyn explained, “The proposed Bill will create a specific offence of domestic abuse. In terms of sentencing, a court would take into account a course of conduct of domestic abuse and whether that abuse was coercive and controlling. Abuse will defined as physical or psychological or both.”
It will also seek to ensure the successful implementation of the legislation by including requirements such as:
- Placing responsibilities on the police to develop adopt and implement written policies in respect of domestic abuse
- Put duties on the police to inform victims of their rights.
- Introduce protective orders prohibiting an abuser making contact in any way with the victim.
The Bill is being championed and was redrafted several times throughout 2014 by Harry Fletcher, Criminal Justice Director Digital-Trust, CIC and has had extensive consultation this year with victims, stakeholders and lawyers.
This Bill would also meet the requirements for the Istanbul Convention (the European Council Convention on Violence Against Women and Girls) which has yet to be ratified by the UK.
Harry Fletcher said, “We have gained cross party support to get domestic violence recognised as a serious crime. The principals of the Bill will be discussed during the passage of the Serious Crime in front of Parliament.
Although we welcome the consultation, we hope that it does not delay the possibility of getting a Bill through Parliament this year. Women in the England, Wales and Northern Ireland have waited far too long for a Domestic Violence Bill that can offer them protection”.
For further information on any of the topics mentioned in this release, or to arrange interviews please contact Kathleen Clark at the press office on 0845 833 8292, or email email@example.com