There have been calls for tighter restrictions from the Home Office for domestic abusers to prevent them from causing further abuse by electronically monitoring perpetrators and banning consumption of alcohol.
The government has set out new proposals to tackle the way domestic violence abusers are punished in the UK. These potential proposals will ensure domestic abusers are banned from contacting their victims, electronically tagged and monitored as well as being banned from consuming alcohol or drugs.
This is to include, but is not limited to, abusers who have caused their partners distress and harmed their mental wellbeing. The proposal also calls for perpetrators to be required to attend sessions such as parenting programmes and drug and alcohol treatment sessions to prevent them from committing domestic violence again.
Under these recommended plans, any perpetrator who is found breaching these conditions under the new Domestic Abuse Protection Orders (DAPOs) can be punishable as a criminal offence.
A government consultation on the recommended plans has stated that tagging should be alongside other conditions such as an exclusion zone, in order to monitor perpetrators in circumstances where it would be necessary and proportionate to prevent further abuse from occurring.
Currently, victims of domestic abuse are unable to access services and resources due to the pressure on the system as well as a lack of space. The charity, Women’s Aid claims that 94 women a day were turned away from a refuge centre in England in 2017.
The government consultation paper will aim to include a new statutory definition of abuse including recognition of the term ‘economic abuse’ which will propose to make it a punishable offence to force someone to take out loans, withholding access to wages or bank account, food, clothing and transport. The paper will also include a proposal for the creation of a domestic abuse commissioner, tougher sentences for domestic abuse cases where children are involved and a measure to allow victims to testify behind screens or via video link in order to prevent them from having contact with their abusers.
According to the Office for National Statistics, nearly 2 million people every year suffer domestic abuse. Home Secretary, Amber Rudd said that the government’s aim is to “fundamentally change the way we as a country think about domestic abuse, recognising that it is a crime that comes in many forms – physical, emotional, and economic. This is about creating a society that protects individuals and families at the earliest opportunity”.
Emine Mehmet, Director of Family and Childcare at Duncan Lewis Solicitors states, “As a lawyer who deals daily with domestic abuse cases, I see first-hand the devastating effect it has - not only on the victims but also on any children of the family. I therefore welcome any changes to the law which will help us tackle the problem, and recognition of the many forms of domestic violence is an important step forward. The new punishment proposals seem sensible, and having Domestic Abuse Protection Orders would go some way in protecting domestic violence survivors from further abuse”.
Emine Mehmet has experience in all aspects of childcare and family law, including domestic violence matters, international children/cross border matters and public law children matters. She is a member of The Law Society Child Law Panel and has a significant care proceedings practice as well as a cross border practice in Hague Convention proceedings (child abduction). For expert advice on domestic violence matters, contact Emine on 02072752799 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Duncan Lewis Family Law Department
Duncan Lewis understands the sensitive situation of domestic violence and the importance of protecting victims for any further abuse. Our solicitors offer Legal Aid services to victims of domestic abuse – and can advise on how to tackle abuse within the law, including domestic abuse between partners and spouses, same sex partners and spouses, elder abuse, parent-child abuse, abuse in platonic relationships and between flatmates, psychological abuse and financial abuse.
We have offices nationwide and can advise on domestic violence under UK law and Islamic law – including advising on FGM and honour crimes, as well as advising victims of human trafficking and/or modern slavery on domestic violence or abuse.
For expert legal advice on domestic violence, call Duncan Lewis domestic violence solicitors in confidence on 0333 772 0409.
For urgent help with domestic violence or international parent-child abduction, call the Duncan Lewis 24-Hour Emergency Helpline on 0333 772 0607.