Concerns parliamentary shutdown could impact domestic abuse bill
Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner David Keane is expressing his concerns about the effect the Prime Minister’s decision to prorogue parliament could have on the passing of the domestic abuse bill.
The landmark bill is set to oversee a fundamental shift in how domestic abuse is responded to, providing increased support for victims and tougher punishments for perpetrators.
A result of a national consultation by the previous government, the bill had its first reading in parliament in July. But when parliament is ended in this way, all proposed bills are effectively cancelled, unless the government takes proactive steps to ensure the bills progress.
With no clear indication from the government on how it plans to progress the bill, the commissioner is now questioning what this means for domestic abuse victims that desperately need more support.
“The domestic abuse bill is the result of two years of hard-work by elected representatives, charities and campaigners to provide more protection for survivors of domestic abuse.
“It is set to encourage more victims of domestic abuse to speak out by providing assurances that victims and their children will be safe and supported.
“Unfortunately, the bill has already been delayed on its journey and this parliamentary shutdown could see it being thrown out altogether.
“Victims of this abhorrent crime deserve to know where they stand and if and when they are set to have more protection from this new legislation.
“I am urging the government to affirm its commitment to the passing of this bill and to protecting thousands of victims”, said PCC David Keane.
The commissioner’s concerns are also shared by the chief executive of domestic abuse charity Refuge, Sandra Horley, who wrote in a national newspaper last week calling on the Prime Minister to guarantee that he’s committed to carrying over the bill.
While the Home Office has not made a direct commitment to guaranteeing the domestic abuse bill will be protected, it said it is determined to continue the work carried-out so far on legislating to support domestic abuse victims.