Domestic Abuse Bill 2019 – where are we at?

Earlier this month the Domestic Abuse Bill passed its second reading in Parliament. A carry-over motion was also passed meaning that, if necessary, the Bill can continue its passage through Parliament in the next Parliamentary session.

Domestic abuse is a theme that sadly does arise in many cases I handle on a yearly basis as a family law solicitor in London. An estimated two million adults aged 16 to 59 experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2018, two-thirds of whom were women.

For family law, key provisions of the bill will include:

  1. A definition of domestic abuse;
  2. Appoint a Domestic Abuse Commissioner, to stand up for victims and survivors, raise public awareness, monitor the response of local authorities, the justice system and other statutory agencies and hold them to account in tackling domestic abuse; and
  3. Prohibiting perpetrators of abuse from cross-examining their victims in person in the family courts.

Only time will tell whether this bill will become law, but the signs do look positive with the bill supported by all the main parties at Westminster.

Nevertheless, there are measures that can be taken to protect victims of domestic abuse in the meantime and I am happy to discuss those with you at our London office should you need that advice.

By Marc Etherington (Senior Associate & Collaborative Lawyer)