The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 is now law and implementation will begin to occur across the criminal justice system and agencies later this year. The bill is a response to public consultation carried out in spring 2018, which included 3200 responses. This led to a draft bill in January 2019 and then the final bill signed into law and enacted on 29th April 2021.
At Ison Harrison, our family law solicitors deal with many cases of domestic abuse on an annual basis, and we have experience of the range of offences included in this bill and the frustrations that have led to this increase in measures and the protection provided by them. It is reported that there are 2.3 million victims of domestic abuse each year aged 16-74, two thirds of which are women. It is also reported that one in ten offences that the police now record is related to domestic abuse.
The Home Office outlines that the bill is set to provide further protection to millions of people who experience domestic abuse, as well as strengthening measures to tackle perpetrators. The aim is to improve the effectiveness of the justice system in providing protection and strengthen the support available for victims from statutory agencies. It should also raise awareness and understanding of the devastating impacts of domestic abuse for both the victims and their families. The Act is relevant to England & Wales, but in reality most measures are for England only.
Key features of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021
The headline features of the new bill are:
- Changing the statutory definition of what constitutes domestic abuse
- Defining how children are considered to be victims of domestic abuse
- Extending the coercive control offence
- Defining the duty of local authorities to provide accommodation for victims
Understanding the Domestic Abuse Act 2021
There have been various factsheets released by the Government on the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 and the overall summary factsheet can be found here:
Specialist legal support for domestic abuse issues
The statute has been welcomed by many professionals including our family law solicitors at Ison Harrison, who help and support domestic abuse victims through their daily work. We have seen first-hand the way that abusive behaviour can impact victims and have a dangerous spiralling impact on families. We join all family law practitioners in hoping that the measures will be implemented as quickly as possible to offer greater protection to those who suffer, and we hope this will encourage more victims to come forward to report their problems and seek safety, protection and justice.
If you have been the victim of or have witnessed domestic abuse within your family unit, you can contact our family law solicitors at Ison Harrison. We have trained professionals who can deal with your issue discreetly, compassionately and effectively, to provide you with the support and protection you need.