Legal Update - The Domestic Abuse Act 2021
The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 received Royal Assent on 29 April 2021 and makes wide-ranging changes to the law around Domestic Abuse, including the definition of abuse, the cross-examination of victims of abuse and orders that may be made by the court.
By way of a brief summary, the Domestic abuse Act 2021 (DDA 2021) provides a wider definition of domestic abuse and clarifies what behaviours can be considered as domestic abuse, including physical or sexual abuse, violent or threatening behaviour, controlling coercive behaviour as well as economic, psychological and emotional abuse
It provides for:
Children who have seen or experienced the abuse are given the formal status of ‘victim’ as well as the actual victim.
The Police to have new powers in the form of Domestic Abuse Protection notice (DAPN) to impose similar restrictions as Non-Molestation Orders and Occupations Orders.
Victims being able to apply for Domestic Abuse Protection Orders (DAPO) for longer lasting protection - although this is different to the protection under the Family Law Act 1996 (e.g. non molestation orders).
Local Authorities to provide additional support to victims of domestic abuse
New measures to help victims of domestic abuse to give better quality evidence
Provisions to stop the perpetrator or victim of domestic abuse cross examining each other
An increase to the courts powers under to limit a person from making further applications under the Children Act 1989 (s.91(14))
A new offence if someone threatens to disclose private sexual photographs or films with intent to cause distress (s.33 Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015)
A broadening of the scope of section 189 of the Housing Act 1996 so that a person who is homeless as a result of being a victim of domestic abuse now falls within the class that has a priority need for accommodation, together with an obligation on the local authority to grant a secure tenancy to a victim of domestic abuse, and
Broadening the scope of SCA 2015, Pt 5 (in connection with strangulation or suffocation of another person) if a person suffers serious harm that was either intended or reckless, including that it is no defence if the infliction of harm was consented to by the victim for the purposes of obtaining sexual gratification.
If you have been the victim of domestic abuse, or would like some more information on how we can help victims of domestic abuse please contact us