Deputy mayor welcomes new legislation to help protect victims of domestic abuse

The Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester has welcomed the announcement of proposed anti-domestic abuse legislation.

The draft Domestic Abuse Bill, which was published on Monday January 21, would introduce stronger powers to tackle coercive control and economic abuse, the introduction of new Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and Domestic Abuse Protection Orders, and a ban on the cross-examination of victims by their abusers in family court.

Beverly Hughes, the Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester for Policing and Crime said the move was a ‘postive step’ towards better protection and support for victims.

She said: “The powers and tools outlined in the draft Domestic Abuse Bill will help us strengthen our response to domestic abuse in Greater Manchester, and give more people the confidence to speak out and seek help.

“Crucially, the draft Bill sets out a definition of domestic abuse which recognises the impact of coercive, controlling and economic abuse, which is just as devastating as physical abuse.

“However, this definition alone is not enough.

“For example, it must be backed up with sustainable funding and a robust framework and guidance for local areas to help commission support services, deliver minimum standards of training and support organisations in recognising the signs of economic and controlling behaviour.

“The issue of abusers being allowed to cross-examine their victims in family court has been a cause for concern for some time.

It’s unacceptable that this practice, which effectively enables abuse to continue, has been allowed to go on so I’m pleased that the Government has finally taken action to protect victims and survivors from unnecessary distress.”

The draft Bill also reinforces the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme – also known as Clare’s Law – which requires police to disclose information about an individual on request if it is suspected that they may be abusive towards a partner.

Hughes said: “Greater Manchester has led the way in implementing Clare’s Law, an empowering tool that has saved hundreds of residents from a potential lifeline of abuse.

“That this power is being bolstered sends a strong message to anyone who is worried about their own or a loved one’s relationship that there is somewhere to turn to.

“Work is ongoing across Greater Manchester to raise awareness of this scheme and the help and support which is available to people who need it.”

Clare’s Law is named after Clare Wood, who was killed by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton in 2009.

She had not known that he had a history of violence against women.

The legislation came into force in 2014.

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