The government must not allow the prorogation of parliament to further delay the introduction of new domestic abuse laws, campaigners have said, arguing that survivors cannot wait any longer for “critical protections and support”.
Attempts to improve the laws relating to domestic abuse have suffered numerous setbacks in recent years. Proposed changes in legislation to prevent perpetrators cross-examining victims in the family courts were initially included in the prisons and courts bill 2017, which was abandoned when Theresa May called the 2017 general election.
A number of measures were then included in the domestic abuse bill, which was finally introduced to parliament in July this year, but charities and campaigners are seeking assurances that the legislation will not be dropped again in the current political turmoil.
In a letter to the prime minister, leading domestic abuse charities, academics and human rights organisations called for the government to make a clear public commitment to deliver the bill within the next parliamentary session.
“We are writing to seek assurance that vital legislation to protect survivors of domestic abuse remains a priority for the government,” the letter reads.
“The domestic abuse bill is a pivotal moment. Crucially, it will enable the UK government to ratify the Istanbul convention, the landmark international treaty for preventing and combating violence against women.”
Among other proposals, the bill contains measures to introduce a statutory government definition of domestic abuse, which would include economic abuse, and the creation of domestic abuse protection notices and domestic abuse protection orders to put restrictions on offenders.
Responding to a question by the MP Jess Phillips in parliament on Tuesday, Boris Johnson said the government would “ensure that the domestic abuse bill, the animal welfare (sentencing) bill and other bills receive proper consideration and are rolled over.” Read more