The Queen’s Speech – New domestic abuse bill

10 July 2017 Posted by

On the 21st June 2017 the Queen’s speech set out the proposed legislation for the next two years. It identified addressing all forms of domestic abuse as a high priority for councils.  The speech included:

Woman-drinking-a-hot-drink

Draft Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill 
The main elements of the Bill are:

  • To establish a Domestic Violence and Abuse Commissioner, to stand up for victims and survivors, raise public awareness, monitor the response of statutory agencies and local authorities and hold the justice system to account in tackling domestic abuse
  • To define domestic abuse in law to underpin all other measures in the Bill
  • To create a consolidated new domestic abuse civil prevention and protection order regime
  • To ensure that if abusive behaviour involves a child, then the court can hand down a sentence that reflects the devastating life-long impact that abuse can have on the child

Courts Bill 
The main elements of the Bill are:

  • To put an end to the direct cross examination of domestic violence victims by their alleged perpetrators in the family courts and extend the use of virtual hearings, which will allow victims to participate in trials without having to meet their alleged assailant face-to-face
  • To enable those charged with some less serious criminal offences to opt to plead guilty, accept a conviction and pay a statutory fixed penalty online which will free up court time for more serious cases. Defendants will need to actively opt into this process and could still choose to have their case heard in court instead. An example would be where a first time offender has admitted to travelling on a train without purchasing a ticket. The reforms will also introduce digital services which will allow businesses to pursue their cases quickly, enabling them to recover debts more easily
  • To meet the demands of a modern justice system, by providing a better working environment for judges, allowing more leadership positions in the judiciary to be offered on a fixed term, and enabling judges to be deployed more flexibly to improve the opportunities for career progression

There are a number of non-legislative measures including:

  • Public Inquiry into the Grenfell Tower Fire
  • Counter Terrorism Review
  • Commission for countering terrorism
  • Mental Health Reform
  • Social Care
  • Housing

The full speech can be found at http://bit.ly/2t6Ob1B

About the Author

Simon, Research & Information Officer, Amethyst, Community Safety Team

Contact

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E: sviles@cornwall.gov.uk

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