The impact of Covid-19 and re-occurring national lockdowns have been devastating for the majority of the United Kingdom.
In particular, victims of domestic abuse have been subjected to further harm due to their perpetrator’s heightened anxiety, frustration, and their inability to release these emotions via social interaction.
According to Refuge, the number of calls to the National Domestic Abuse helpline during lockdown last year, increased by a terrifying 66%!
Life has generally slowed down for a lot of people during lockdown. However, after three long years of being in the making, Covid-19 has provided a window of opportunity for this bill to finally be one step closer in becoming law.
What is the Domestic Abuse Bill?
On the 5th January 2021, the House of Lords heard a second reading of the Bill. These are the four main objectives:
- to promote awareness;
- to better protect and support victims and their children;
- to transform the Criminal, Civil and Family Courts; and
- to improve performance across both local and national agencies.
How can the Domestic Abuse Bill protect victims?
- For the first time, there will be a legal definition of domestic abuse. This will emphasise that domestic abuse is not always physical, but can also be emotional, economical, controlling, or coercive.
- Local Authorities will be legally obligated to provide support and safe accommodation for victims (including children) of domestic abuse. Those who are homeless as a result of domestic abuse will have automatic ‘priority need’.
- A new Domestic Abuse Protection Notice (DAPN) and a new Domestic Abuse Protection Order (DAPO) will replace the existing notice and civil Orders to enable immediate protection for victims.
- Perpetrators will be prohibited from cross-examining their victims in person in the Family Courts.
- A person may not consent to the infliction of serious harm, i.e., their own death, rough-sex, strangulation etc.
How can Jefferies Law help domestic abusive victims?
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, please do not suffer in silence. The Family Law Department at Jefferies are here to help you. As a department, we assist victims of domestic abuse daily. We have a contract with the Legal Aid Agency, so can advise you on how to meet the criteria to be eligible for Legal Aid and how you can make an application for the new DAPO in the Family Courts.
How do I contact Jefferies Law?
We are very flexible and can arrange face to face, video or telephone consultations. We also send emails in a protected format, so that no other person can view confidential information that is sent to you.
Read more here > Leaving an Abusive Marriage: What Are My Legal Options?
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.