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Equalities and Rights Equalities and Rights

Create a domestic violence and abuse commissioner in law

Last updated: 11:03am 22 January 2019

We will create a domestic violence and abuse commissioner in law, to stand up for victims and survivors, monitor the response to domestic violence and abuse and to hold the police and the criminal justice system to account.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.58

Our verdict

At the moment, there’s no law in the UK that addresses domestic violence specifically. Most offenders are prosecuted using laws from many different sources.

Under the last government, the Serious Crime Act (2015) made “controlling or coercive” behaviour an offence, but this is still a small part of the whole picture of domestic abuse. According to the government’s definition, domestic abuse can include behaviour that is:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

A draft Domestic Abuse Bill was published in January 2019, following a public consultation in March 2018. As well as defining domestic abuse, this bill “provides for the establishment of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner” tasked with “improving the statutory agencies’ responses to domestic abuse”.

To mark this promise as ‘done’, the bill needs to be passed and made into law, and the Domestic Abuse Commissioner needs to be appointed.  For now, we are confident things are ‘in progress’.

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