A new draft bill has just been announced which aims to better support victims and their families and pursue offenders. Campaigners say the anticipated legislation would offer much more protection to victims of domestic violence.
For the first time, the Domestic Abuse Bill will introduce a legal definition of domestic abuse to include controlling and manipulative behaviour as well as financial abuse.
This financial abuse could include:
- Not allowing access to shared money
- Making the victim account for money spent
- Preventing the victim from gaining a job
- Forcing them to give up employment
- Taking out credit cards and/or loans in the victim’s name
- Spending money on themselves when it is needed to maintain the home
- Not allowing the victim to purchase necessary items (including food) for themselves or their children
- Forcing the victims to commit crimes for financial gains.
Those blocking their partners from access of money as a form of abuse will be breaking the new law, and this activity will be an arrestable offence.
Police, councils, social workers and victims of domestic abuse will be able to apply for a new court order that will force the abuser to take course to manage their temper, behaviour, alcohol and drug consumption or undergo treatment for any mental health problems.
“Clare’s Law” will be clarified to allow individuals to check a partner’s past and find out whether they or their close relatives and close friends pose a risk of domestic abuse. Police have had discretion to reveal such information since 2014.
The new law will also prevent the abusers from cross-examining the victims in court. Even before the new law comes into force, a lawyer should request screens at court as well as a separate waiting room.
If you need help or know someone who might need help, please call us straight away on 01392 421 777.
We will look at possible injunctions to keep someone away from you and your family, and orders allowing you to stay in your home. In the case of an emergency, we can apply for a court order without the other person being there.