Domestic Abuse Bill

The Domestic Abuse Bill presents a huge opportunity to make real and substantial improvements in the response to domestic abuse for every victim, child and family. It is a result of many years of hard work and campaigning from victims, survivors and domestic abuse organisations, whose voices are finally being heard. 

We welcome the Bill returning to Parliament but urge the Government to go further to ensure the Bill supports all victims and survivors and is accompanied with an investment in the full range of domestic abuse services. 

We will continue to work with the Government, survivors and partners across the sector to make sure the final Bill delivers for all the survivors and children who need it.

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.