Domestic Abuse Bill

As a result of the general election on 12th December, parliament will be dissolved on 6th November. This means that the Domestic Abuse Bill falls. Of course, this is hugely frustrating after all the hard work everyone has put in over such a long period of time. Especially all the survivors and Pioneers who have shared their stories with us, and trusted us to help them make the case for change and to improve things for others who might find themselves in the same situation. Our priority now is to keep focus on our whole picture ambitions and to make sure we are making the most cogent case we can for fully funded, comprehensive domestic abuse support to make it into every party manifesto. 

That work begins straight away. We still want to #Invest2EndAbuse and will work with our partners to carry survivor voices beyond the election into a new Bill and stronger measures to help end domestic abuse. 

 

How we got here

On 21st January 2019, the government published its draft Domestic Abuse Bill. 

We welcomed the proposals, but urge the government to go further in order to drive systemic change, to end domestic abuse for good.

On 26th April, SafeLives submitted evidence to the Pre-Legislative Committee on the reforms proposed in the draft Bill.

Our evidence calls for the prohibition of cross examination by perpetrators to be strengthened and challenges the government to do more on prevention, including a bold new strategy for men and boys at risk of harming themselves or other people. 

Our response honours the voices of hundreds of survivors who responded to our online platform, Every Story Matters, telling us what they wanted the Bill to achieve. We'll be looking at further ways to involve the authentic voice of victims and survivors as the Bill moves through Parliament.

We have also submitted joint recommendations to the Pre-Legislative Committee, working alongside Women's Aid, Imkaan, Surviving Economic Abuse, Latin American Women's Rights Service, Step Up Migrant Women, AVA, Southall Black Sisters, End Violence Against Women, Welsh Women's Aid, Agenda, Galop, Rights of Women, Solace and Refuge.

On 14th June, the Joint Committee of Parliament released their report on the Domestic Abuse Bill. 

We welcome the recommendation that Government must find the funding needed to tackle perpetrators of domesitc abuse and better crackdown on intimidatory tactics - changes which must sit alongside a full range of support for victims. 

On 16th July, the Government tabled the Domestic Abuse Bill in Parliament 

We welcome the formal introduction of the bill but call for a fully funded duty on local authorities to assess all the needs of domestic abuse victims and survivors and provide services accordingly, as part of our #Invest2EndAbuse campaign.

On the 2nd October, the Domestic Abuse Bill had its second reading in Parliament. 

Acknowledgements

We'd like to thank everyone who has played such an integral role in providing the evidence we've been able to draw on in our responses, including colleagues from Aafda, Agenda Alliance, Aurora New Dawn, AVA, Being Mankind, Blackburn & Darwen Without Abuse, Buttle Trust, Citizen's Advice, DAHA, the Employer's Initiative on Domestic Abuse, the End Violence Against Women coalition, Galop, Hampton Trust, Leap Confronting Conflict, Lime Culture, the Nottingham Women's Centre, Respect, Social Finance, Standing Together, Stonewall Housing, Surviving Economic Abuse, Victim Support, VOICES and Women's Aid.

We would also like to extend a big thank you to the nearly 50 professionals who took the time to respond to our specific practitioner survey on the Bill.

Every Story Matters

Survivors tell the truest, most immediate and most compelling story of domestic abuse. In preparing for our engagement with the Bill, we created an online platform called Every Story Matters, so that as many people as possible could raise their voices and say in their own words what needs to change. Hundreds of people responded to that call in just a few weeks, proving once and for all that survivors want to be heard. Our responses to the draft DA Bill honours those voices but only begins a conversation.

A heartfelt thank you from everyone at SafeLives to everyone who engaged with us. In particular, thank you to anyone who said that they still feel afraid, but took part despite that fear. Every Story Matters included links to support services - we hope that everyone who needs a service will be able to reach for that, and get it. 

Together we're going to end domestic abuse.