What does the Domestic Abuse Act do?

The Act was signed into law on 29th April 2021 and is intended to transforms the response to domestic abuse, protects victims of domestic abuse and strengthens measures to tackle perpetrators.

How does the Act help victims?

A statutory definition of domestic abuse has been created, emphasising that domestic abuse is not just physical violence, but can also be emotional, coercive or controlling, and economic abuse. As part of this definition, children will be explicitly recognised as victims if they see, hear or otherwise experience the effects of abuse.

Some matters of significance are:

  • There is now a new offence of non-fatal strangulation.
  • Controlling or coercive behaviour offence has been extended to cover post-separation abuse.
  • The ‘revenge porn’ offence has been extended to cover the threat to disclose intimate images with the intention to cause distress.
  • A new Domestic Abuse Protection Orders to provide flexible, longer-term protection for victims.
  • There is now a statutory presumption that victims of domestic abuse are eligible for special measures in the criminal, civil and family courts (for example, to enable them to give evidence via a video link).
  • A duty has been placed on local authorities in England to provide support to victims of domestic abuse and their children in refuges and other safe accommodation including ‘priority need’ for housing
  • The law has been strengthen to prevent applications to court being used to further abuse a victim
  • GPs and other health professionals are prohibited from charging a victim of domestic abuse for a letter to support an application for legal aid.
Will these changes help  victims of Domestic abuse?

Yes. How it helps you will depend on your situation and what you need help with. At the moment it is difficult to say how much difference it will make to individuals, but it is intended to really strengthen the law in all sorts of area’s dealing with Domestic Abuse. The intention behind the new Act is to update the recognition of what is Domestic Abuse and provide greater levels of protection to victims.

How can Clark Willis help me?

We regularly support victims of Domestic Abuse and work closely with local Domestic Abuse organisations. We can provide advice and support on Non-Molestation Orders (injunctions), Children and Separation (including divorce and financial matters). For many clients we will also be able to assist you under Legal Aid.

For a confidential chat call our family team at your local office or visit www.clarkwillis.com.