020 3372 5125 Email us today
Enquire today

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 999.

In early October, Labour MP Rosie Duffield gave a harrowing speech in Parliament which left some of her colleagues in tears.

Speaking during a debate on the Domestic Abuse Bill, Ms Duffield told of the terrifying verbal abuse, humiliation, and financial control she suffered at the hands of an ex-partner.  Her plight was unbeknown to her friends, family, and colleagues.

Speaker, John Bercow, said the speech was “simultaneously horrifying and as moving a contribution” as he had heard in his 22 years in the Commons.

Ms Duffield’s speech highlighted once again how reform of the UK’s domestic abuse law is desperately needed.  

When Parliament was prorogued in September 2019, there was concern that Domestic Abuse Bill would be dropped by Parliament, meaning all progress made this year would have been lost.  Fortunately, the prorogation of Parliament was deemed unlawful, and the Bill and its progress is firmly back on the table.

What is the aim of the Domestic Abuse Bill?

According to a government consultation and response paper, the four main objectives of the Domestic Violence Bill are to:

  • promote awareness – to put domestic abuse at the top of everyone’s agenda, and raise public and professional awareness
  • protect and support – to enhance the safety of victims and the support that they receive
  • transform the justice process – to prioritise victim safety in the criminal and family courts, and review the perpetrator journey from identification to rehabilitation
  • improve performance – to drive consistency and better performance in the response to domestic abuse across all local areas, agencies, and sectors

To achieve this, the Bill will, according to the factsheet:

  • define domestic abuse in law to underpin other measures in the Bill
  • establish a Domestic Abuse Commissioner, to stand up for victims and survivors, raise public awareness, monitor the response of local authorities, the justice system, and other statutory agencies, and hold them to account in tackling domestic abuse
  • provide for a new Domestic Abuse Protection Notice and Domestic Abuse Protection Order
  • create a new domestic abuse offence in Northern Ireland to criminalise controlling or coercive behaviour
  • prohibit perpetrators of abuse from cross-examining their victims in person in the family courts
  • create a statutory presumption that victims of domestic abuse are eligible for special measures in the criminal courts (for example, to enable them to give evidence via a video link)
  • enable domestic abuse offenders to be subject to polygraph testing as a condition of their licence following their release from custody
  • place the guidance supporting the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (“Clare’s law”) on a statutory footing
  • ensure that where a local authority, for reasons connected with domestic abuse, grants a new secure tenancy to a social tenant who had or has a secure lifetime or assured tenancy (other than an assured shorthold tenancy), this must be a secure lifetime tenancy
  • extend the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the criminal courts in England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland to further violent and sexual offences

Although the response to the Bill has been positive, some campaigners are concerned that the draft does not recognise the “gendered nature” of domestic abuse.  Latest figures show that out of an estimated two million victims of domestic abuse in the last year, some 1.3 million were women. And horrifyingly, every week in the UK, two women are murdered by a partner or ex-partner, with 173 people killed in 2018, up from 141 in 2017.

Groups such as the End Violence Against Women Coalition have also lambasted the government for not addressing the raft of budget cuts to support services.  For example, local authority spending on refuges has been cut from £31.2m in 2010 to £23.9m in 2017, and 60% of those fleeing an abuser are unable to find a bed in a safe-house due to shortages.  Furthermore, support for black and ethnic minorities (BAME) have seen huge cuts, as money is moved to more generic services.

A work in progress

The Domestic Abuse Bill 2019 is not perfect.  Legislation seldom is. However, we need what is contained in the Bill laid down in law, so government departments, local authorities, support services, and lawyers can start to implement its positive changes and address identified shortcomings.

Sometimes, done is better than perfect.

Support services

National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) – 0800 970 20 70

Refuge – 0808 2000 247 (24 hours)

Women’s Aid 0808 200 0247 (24 hours)

ManKind – 01823 334 244

Galop LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 999 5428

If you require advice on any of the issues mentioned in this article, please call us on 020 3372 5125 to make an appointment.

Please call us on 020 3372 5125 or get an online consultation




    Contact our experts in Family Law
    Director & Head of Family Law
    For legal advice
    call us today
    020 3372 5125
    Or complete our online enquiry form to make an appointment




      What Our Clients
      Say About Us
      Testimonials
      Dealing with Rakhi was more like having In house counsel than hiring a law firm
      So Rakhi Singal of RVS has just handled my divorce, it was a very complex case and I came to Rakhi at the very last minute on a friend’s recommendation. My case was a mess and I stood to lose everything.

      Dealing with Rakhi was more like having In-House counsel than hiring a law firm, she does not approach her clients as a cash machine like many law firms do, she works with you to manage and minimise your costs and de-escalate conflict rather than throw wood on the fire.

      She took a huge personal interest in my case, she was always available on the phone, very quick to respond to emails and is very honest and trustworthy.

      My ex had huge spending power and used a team of high profile solicitors against me, Rakhi literally saved me from complete ruin and helped me get a very fair deal with me spending 6 times less than my ex on legal fees.

      Thank you, my new family and I will be forever grateful!!!!
      What Our Clients
      Say About Us
      Testimonials
      Rakhi’s passion for her profession supersedes the norm
      On dealing with a very stressful and emotional situation involving my young child. I was personally directed to Rakhi Singal. From the very outset of my situation, Rakhi identified the immediate difficulties I faced and offered me a sympathetic and rational approach to my situation, ensuring that she had a full understanding of my issues and concerns. Rakhi’s approach to my case was monumental and customary to my needs and that of my child, which was a fundamental point for me.

      The communication and support I received in and outside of court was nothing short of extraordinary. Rakhi’s passion for her profession supersedes the norm and is clearly demonstrated through her results.
      What Our Clients
      Say About Us
      Testimonials
      Really impressed with Rakhi’s dedication to our case
      Could not be more pleased with the results!

      I approached RVS solicitors as they were highly recommended and now I completely understand why. Soon as I contacted Rakhi I knew I wanted to use her, she was so professional and easy to get along with. I was faced with clients who were refusing the pay invoices, Rakhi immediately reassured me that she was able to help me and recoup these costs. She dealt with the whole process very professionally.

      Really impressed with Rakhi’s dedication to our case and her knowledge and experience on dealing with the case. She communicated with us throughout the process, providing me with regular updates. Thank you so much, I cannot vouch for her work enough and RAW Invites are happy for you to continue to act for all their matters in the future.
      What Our Clients
      Say About Us
      Testimonials
      Very detailed advice, friendly and approachable
      Excellent service for my wife's spousal visa from Lusine: very detailed advice, friendly and approachable. Also flexible in contact by email and provided an excellent cover letter.
      What Our Clients
      Say About Us
      Testimonials
      She is professional, intelligent, hard worker and cheerful!
      I highly recommend Dr. Lusine Navasardyan, as she is professional, intelligent, hard worker and cheerful, she helped us from the beginning of our case until the very end, when she prepared a strong bundle with over 385 pages, which helped us get a successful victory in our Asylum case . I strongly recommend her as I really appreciate all the professional work that she has done . Many thanks to her.
      What Our Clients
      Say About Us
      Testimonials
      She has been very professional and a reliable person
      Dr. Lusine has been working on my case. She has been very professional and a reliable person. She was always attending to my queries and she has always been very friendly throughout my case.
      What Our Clients
      Say About Us
      Testimonials
      She is very professional while creating a friendly and comforting relationship with her clients
      I am very happy with the level and quality of service I got from Dr. Lusine Navasardyan. She is very professional while creating a friendly and comforting relationship with her clients. The service from Lusine was professional,efficient and well organised. Lusine worked extremely hard at resolving my all issues while getting the best result.
      Latest News