Child and family law experts from Brunel Law School will help recommend changes in how, in future, the country handles domestic violence and abuse.
Every year, about 1.9 million people in England and Wales suffer domestic abuse, 1.3 million of them, women. And in an average week, two women are killed by their current or past partner.
The Prime Minister planned earlier this year to bring in new law to assure people reporting domestic violence to the police that the law is on their side.
A cross-party group of MPs will meet next week to work out the priorities. And Brunel academics Felicity Kaganas and Adrienne Barnett are among the thinkers they’ll listen to.
“It is important because the committee will have input into the legislation for the benefit of survivors of domestic violence and abuse,” said Felicity.
The key parts of the Bill will aim to:
- Hold the justice system to account over tackling domestic abuse
- Prevent alleged abusers cross-examining victims in court
- Create a clear legal definition of the crime
- Pull together measures to prevent domestic violence and abuse and protect people from it
- Make sentences reflect the harm domestic abuse does to children
- Set up a new commissioner who will represent victims and survivors
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Domestic Violence Transforming our National Response - Priorities for the Domestic Violence & Abuse Act meets in Parliament on July 19. Led by Labour MP Jess Phillips, they will also find out from survivors and support services such as Women’s Aid what changes they want.
“We feel that we can make a positive contribution to the discussions and outcomes,” said Felicity. “The powers of the Commissioner are potentially very important because one of the main problems facing those subject to domestic violence is the lack of understanding and failure to recognise the seriousness of domestic violence, and coercive control in particular, on the part of public bodies and those working in the justice system.”
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