Government response: Transforming the response to domestic abuse consultation and draft bill

The Government has produced a January 2019 response (pdf) to the domestic abuse consultation and draft Domestic Abuse Bill.

The government has committed to introduce a Domestic Abuse Bill, which will provide a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the response to this terrible crime.

Nine measures were identified that require primary legislation to implement. These will now be taken forward in the draft Domestic Abuse Bill and be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny.

Those measure are:

  • providing for a statutory definition of domestic abuse
  • establishing the office of Domestic Abuse Commissioner and set out the commissioner’s functions and powers
  • providing for a new Domestic Abuse Protection Notice and Domestic Abuse Protection Order
  • prohibiting perpetrators of domestic and other forms of abuse from cross-examining their victims in person in the family courts (and prevent victims from having to cross-examine their abusers) and give the court discretion to prevent cross-examination in person where it would diminish the quality of the witness’s evidence or cause the witness significant distress
  • creating a statutory presumption that complainants of an offence involving behaviour that amounts to domestic abuse are eligible for special measures in the criminal courts
  • enabling high-risk domestic abuse offenders to be subject to polygraph testing as a condition of their licence following their release from custody
  • placing the guidance supporting the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme on a statutory footing
  • ensuring that, where a local authority, for reasons connected with domestic abuse, grants a new secure tenancy to a social tenant who had or has a secure lifetime or assured tenancy (other than an assured shorthold tenancy), this must be a secure lifetime tenancy
  • extending the extra-territorial jurisdiction of the criminal courts in England and Wales to further violent and sexual offences

Read the full response.