DOMESTIC ABUSE ACT 2021 becomes law
On 29th April 2021 the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 was granted Royal Assent and became law.
The aim is to ensure that domestic abuse is properly understood and that it is considered unacceptable behaviour that will be challenged in the Courts and in the minds of the public.
The new Act supports the view that domestic abuse can take many forms. The legal definition now incorporates a range of abuses beyond physical violence, including emotional, coercive or controlling behaviour and economic abuse. The abuse can be behaviour consisting of a single incident or a course of conduct.
The new Act will also provide further protection to the millions of people who experience domestic abuse, as well as strengthen measures to tackle perpetrators.
Here are some of the ways the Act will help victims:
- Create a new offence of non-fatal strangulation.
- Extend the controlling or coercive behaviour offence to cover post separation abuse.
- Extend the “revenge porn” offence to cover the threat to disclose intimate images with the intention to cause distress.
- Place a duty on Local Authorities in England to provide support to victims of domestic abuse and their children in refuges and other safe accommodation.
- Provide that all eligible homes victims of domestic abuse automatically have “priority need” for homelessness assistance.
- Stop vexatious family proceedings that can further traumatic victims by clarifying the circumstances in which a Court may make a Barring Order under s.91.14 of the Children Act 1989.
The Police will also be given new powers including Domestic Abuse Protection Notices providing victims with immediate protection from abusers, while Courts will be able to hand out new Domestic Abuse Protection Orders to help prevent offending by forcing perpetrators to take steps to change their behaviour, including seeking mental health support or drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
One of the more important new protections and support that will be available for victims of abuse, under the Domestic abuse act, will be to ensure that abusers will no longer be allowed to directly cross-examine their victims in the Family and Civil Courts, giving victims better access to special measures in the courtroom to help prevent intimidation such as protective screens and giving evidence via video-link.
Following the impact of the pandemic, especially for those suffering domestic abuse, the new Act which has been long awaited, is very much needed. The family courts especially will now be able to provide stronger protections for victims and local councils will be forced to fund support in safe accommodation.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with issues of domestic abuse… Talk to Tollers on 01604 258558. Our experienced team are on hand to guide you through the process of obtaining orders through the courts on an urgent basis and provide you with the support you need to ensure your safety.