Domestic abuse recognised as government priority in Queen’s speech

By Clare Peckett, Director & Solicitor, Family Law Department

Domestic abuse legislation is to be introduced by the government after many years of public authorities failing to recognise domestic abuse as a serious situation worthy of their consideration. There appears to finally be the political will to address matters. It would be expected that all political parties would broadly support any measures to assist the victims.

The government is proposing to define domestic abuse in law, some may say, not before time. They will also create a new civil prevention and protection order. As ever, the devil will be in the detail and especially its success will be dependent upon the resources allocated to allow victims to successfully access the court processes. Since 2013 the financial means test for Legal Aid has become more stringent with victims having to contribute more towards the costs of their legal fees.

A Domestic Abuse and Violence Commissioner will be created to promote and monitor the interests of victims. Home Secretary Amber Rudd has stated that the intention of the commissioner was to raise standards everywhere over how police forces deal with domestic violence. All of which is worthy and a significant improvement in prioritising and promoting their interests to society as a whole. As long as the commissioner has┬áthe authority to implement changes and to significantly influence future policy, they are to be welcomed. The test will be whether any future governments will follow the commissioner’s┬árecommendations, especially where it requires that government to spend money.

Click here for further coverage of the government’s proposals for new domestic abuse legislation.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice, and the law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice on their own particular circumstances