Home Political Parties Government Landmark legislation against domestic violence signed into law

Landmark legislation against domestic violence signed into law

Home Secretary Priti Patel - Picture by Pippa Fowles - No 10 Downing Street - Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 has now passed both Houses of Parliament and been signed into law.

This will provide greater protections for victims and further clamp down on perpetrators.

This includes widening “revenge porn” laws to include threats to disclose intimate images with the intention to cause distress, which will be punishable by up to two years in prison.

In addition, the Government is strengthening legislation around controlling or coercive behaviour by no longer making it a requirement for abusers and victims to live together. This originates from a Government review, which highlighted that those who leave an ex-partner can often be subjected to controlling or coercive behaviour post-separation.

Non-fatal strangulation has also be proposed to have up to five years in prison. This announcement came after concerns by the Centre For Women’s Justice that perpetrators were avoiding punishment as the practice can often leave no visible injury, making it harder to prosecute under existing offences.

The Act will also enshrine into law that all eligible homeless victims of domestic abuse will have “priority need” for homelessness assistance. This has been hailed as a “result” by the charity Women’s Aid.

According to the Safeguarding Minister, Victoria Atkins MP, the Domestic Abuse Bill is “set to transform the response to domestic abuse, helping to prevent offending, protect victims and ensure they have the support they need”.

The Act has been hailed as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to improve the country’s response to domestic abuse.