RISE comments on the new domestic abuse bill entered into parliament

Posted July, 2019

Following many years of calls for change, the new domestic abuse bill was entered into parliament last week. RISE responds to this historic event.

RISE welcomes the stronger focus on bringing perpetrators to account through new criminal justice measures and the introduction of a Domestic Abuse Commissioner.

We also welcome proposals to strengthen the rights of those experiencing abuse and violence with a new definition of abuse that includes, for the first time, economic abuse.

As a Women’s Aid Federation member we support calls for the bill to deliver the reforms that survivors are asking for. Unsafe child contact arrangements must end. Any parent who faces criminal proceedings for a domestic abuse-related offence must be refused unsupervised contact. RISE also back Women's Aid insistence that domestic abuse survivors must be a priority for long-term housing, as it is impossible for survivors to rebuild their lives without the security and stability this offers.

RISE is keen to see this bill doing much more to drive the cultural shift to make domestic abuse everyone’s business and to see changes that benefit all those affected by domestic abuse and violence. Jo Gough, RISE CEO says:

“We know that domestic abuse disproportionately affects women and their children, yet this bill makes no reference to sex or gender in its definition of domestic abuse. This hides the true experience of domestic abuse and could lead to support that ignores the sex and gendered context of this crime.

It also lacks reference to the impact of domestic abuse on black, migrant and disabled women and girls who experience abuse in the context of race and disability discrimination. Imkaan report that 62% of migrant women have been threatened with deportation when reporting violence, whilst disabled women are three times more likely to experience domestic abuse. This bill must provide equal protection for minoritised women – keeping all women safe from harm.”

This is a historic moment presenting real opportunity to transform the lives of domestic abuse survivors. RISE urges government to make these urgent changes and put survivors' experiences at the heart of the bill.