In February 2018, the UK Government announced its commitment to a new, transformative approach to domestic violence. It launched a public consultation on how to prevent and tackle domestic abuse in March 2018 which ran until 31 May 2018. The Government published its response to the consultation and the draft Domestic Abuse Bill in January 2019. This page contains information and documents relating to the consultation process and draft Bill.

Sisters For Change has developed a series of briefing notes looking at some of the most important issues it believes the Domestic Abuse Bill needs to address. The briefing notes set out recommendations to Government to ensure an inclusive and effective Domestic Abuse Bill for all women, including that the Domestic Abuse Bill and the non-legislative package accompanying the Bill should:

  • Recognise the gendered nature, causes and impacts of domestic abuse, which affects women and girls disproportionately
  • Recognise the different lived experiences of different groups of women victims and the specific protections and support services they need
  • Include ring-fenced funding for specialist BME VAWG services
  • Ensure improved co-ordination and implementation of multi-agency arrangements for the protection of high-risk victims, which should be victim-centred
  • Strengthen public authority safeguarding and risk assessment processes
  • Improve and standardise local government responses to domestic abuse & VAWG
  • Give the Domestic Abuse Commissioner effective powers to be able to hold local authorities to account for their response to domestic abuse & VAWG
  • Ensure all women victims of domestic abuse have access to protection and support services, irrespective of immigration status
  • Ensure compliance with the requirements of the Istanbul Convention

Theresa May announced ‘a major programme of work leading towards bringing forward a Domestic Violence and Abuse Act’

Queen’s speech pledged to bring forward legislation to provide a statutory definition of domestic violence, to ensure that robust protective orders are available and that victims get the justice they deserve.

Government launches public consultation seeking views on how to prevent and tackle domestic abuse through both legislative measures and a non-legislative package of practical action.

Women’s Aid publishes report, “What about my right not to be abused?” Domestic abuse, human rights and the family courts to coincide with the closing of the Domestic Abuse Bill consultation.

All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Domestic Abuse launches report, Creating a Truly Transformative Domestic Abuse Bill setting out six key recommendations for the Domestic Abuse Bill.

Home affairs committee publishes report on domestic abuse.

Imkaan publishes an alternative Bill, From the Margins to the Centre: Addressing Violence Against Women and Girls.

Government publishes its response to the public consultation and a draft Domestic Abuse Bill .

The draft Domestic Abuse Bill contains a definition of domestic abuse which includes economic and psychological abuse as well as physical and sexual assault. The draft Bill contains provisions to establish the post of Domestic Abuse Commissioner, with a mandate to encourage good practice in the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of offences involving domestic abuse. Public authorities will have a duty to cooperate with the Domestic Abuse Commissioner under the proposals, and must respond to any recommendations issued by the Commissioner in respect to the discharge of their functions. The draft Bill creates Domestic Abuse Prevention Notices and Domestic Abuse Prevention Orders and prohibits the cross-examination of domestic abuse victims by perpetrators in the family courts, although this is limited to perpetrators who have been convicted or cautioned or where a protective order or injunction is in place. In criminal proceedings, the availability of special measures for victims and witnesses are extended to any offence that falls within the definition of domestic abuse within the draft Bill.

The draft Bill fails to recognise the gendered nature of domestic abuse and its disproportionate impact on women and girls.

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