|The Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester has welcomed today’s announcement to strengthen tools and powers to help break the cycle of domestic abuse and better protect victims and survivors.
Speaking as the Government published the draft Domestic Abuse Bill, which includes 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, Deputy Mayor Bev Hughes said:
“Today’s announcement is a positive step forward in better protection and support for victims and survivors of domestic abuse, who all too often feel let down by the criminal justice system. 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 strengthens Clare’s Law, making it a duty for the police to disclose information on an individual when requested, where there is a concern that the individual may be abusive towards their partner.
Deputy Mayor Bev Hughes added: “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.”