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Lords debates Domestic Abuse Bill

6 January 2021

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Members of the Lords discussed the main purpose and principles of the Domestic Abuse Bill during second reading, on Tuesday 5 January.

The purpose of this bill is to raise awareness of domestic abuse, improve the effectiveness of the justice system and strengthen support for victims.

Baroness Williams of Trafford (Conservative), Home Office Minister, opened the debate and responded on behalf of the government.

Speakers included a former member of the Pre-legislation Consultative Committee on the Domestic Abuse Bill, a former Home Secretary, a former Women and Equalities Minister, and a former Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

Committee stage, the first chance for line by line examination of the bill, has yet to be scheduled.

Domestic Abuse Bill summary

This bill aims to:

  • create and set out the functions for a Domestic Abuse Commissioner
  • create a new civil preventative order regime - the Domestic Abuse Protection Notice (“DAPN”) and Domestic Abuse Protection Order (“DAPO”)
  • require local authorities in England to support domestic abuse victims and their children in safe accomodation, and give priority to homeless victims
  • prohibit perpetrators of certain offences from cross-examining their victims in court (and vice versa) and give courts the power to appoint a legal representative to conduct the cross-examination on their behalf
  • clarify terms of consent for infliction of harm for sexual gratification and extend jurisdiction in criminal courts to further violent and sexual offences
  • enable offenders to be subject to polygraph testing as a condition of their licence following release from custody
  • places the guidance supporting the Domestic Violence Disclosure
    Scheme on a statutory footing.

Image: PA