September 14, 2021
Domestic Abuse Act 2021 – Update
Each year, there are 2.3 million victims of domestic abuse aged between 16 and 74 and two-thirds of this figure are women. In order to provide greater protection to those who have experienced domestic violence, provisions of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 (the “Act”) will come into force this year and next year. The Act will largely apply to England and Wales but in some instances just in relation to England.
The purpose of the Act is to raise awareness and understanding about the impact of domestic abuse on victims and their families and improve the way the justice system protects those affected by domestic abuse including the following:
- There will be a statutory definition of domestic abuse, which includes physical, emotional, and economic abuse as well as controlling or coercive behaviour. This will hopefully make more people aware of how to recognise domestic abuse.
- There will be a Domestic Abuse Commissioner who will monitor domestic abuse support services, make recommendations to public bodies, carry out research, and raise public awareness of domestic abuse.
- Domestic Abuse Protection Notices will be issued by the Police and will give victims immediate protection following an incident. The Notice could for example, require a perpetrator to leave the victim’s home for up to 48 hours. Domestic Abuse Protection Orders will have a flexible duration so that longer-term protection can be provided.
- Local authorities in England will be required to provide accommodation to victims of domestic abuse and their children.
- Perpetrators will not be allowed to cross-examine their victims in person in the civil and family courts.
- There will be a presumption that victims of domestic abuse are eligible for special measures in the criminal, civil and family courts, which may include giving evidence via video link or with screens in place, so they do not have to see the perpetrator.
- It will be an offence even to threaten to disclose private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress, which is already a criminal offence.
- There will be a new offence of non-fatal strangulation or suffocation.
- All eligible homeless victims of domestic abuse will automatically have ‘priority need’ for homelessness assistance.
Whilst the Act largely relates to criminal law matters, it is also possible to obtain protection from a perpetrator within civil law proceedings and you may require support such as with leaving an abusive relationship or marriage. Our team of Family Lawyers at Wallace Robinson & Morgan Limited are happy to help. We are based in Solihull and Dorridge and serve clients across Birmingham and the West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and further afield.
If you would like to discuss your matter, please call 0121 705 7571 and ask to speak to a member of the Family law team or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute technical, financial, legal advice or any other type of professional advice and is no substitute for specific advice based on your individual circumstances. We do not accept responsibility or liability for any actions taken based on the information in this article. For more information, please click here.