Opposition demand changes to draft Domestic Violence Bill

30 January 2019

Labour MP, Stella Creasy has asked an urgent question to the Government about its draft Domestic Violence Bill.

Following last week's publication of the Government's "landmark" draft Domestic Violence bill, Stella Creasy asked the Government to make a statement on the territorial extent of the domestic abuse bill and the consequences of this for victims of violence across the UK.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Office, Victoria Atkins, responded on behalf of the Government and confirmed the draft Bill was published last week and that "it is aimed at supporting victims and their families and pursuing offenders to stop the cycle of violence."

She went on to state that the draft Bill was in line with existing criminal law, the provisions of the draft Bill expand to England and Wales only and that there has been no change in the territorial application of the Bill compared with the proposals in the Government's consultation published last spring. She stated that the subject matter of the draft Bill is devolved in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Victoria Atkins confirmed that the Government was in discussion with both the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Department of Justice about whether they wish to extend any of the draft Bill provisions to Scotland or Northern Ireland. It was also confirmed by the Government that a joint committee would be established soon to carry out pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Bill.

Stella Creasy responded to the Under-Secretary and said

"Domestic abuse affects communities in every nation in the UK yet last week after 2 and half years of waiting the Government published a draft Bill that only takes action in England and Wales."

She claimed the Bill was restricted as it did not cover migrant women and that the Government's draft Bill is not UK wide because of the DUP. Stella Creasy claimed;

"...the Sunday Times, this weekend provided the answer with the confirmation that the Bill had been vetted by the Cabinet Office. That the Government feared making this Bill UK-wide because of the DUP."

She went on to say that,

"Because this Bill is also about implementing the UN Convention on Violence against Women. A convention the UN has said we are breaching right now because citizens in Northern Ireland are denied the right to choose not to continue an unwanted pregnancy."

Image: Zack Minor

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