Lib Dem Success: Amendment to Domestic Abuse Bill will reduce stress for victims in court

June 30, 2020 6:26 PM
By Kate Smith

Christine Jardine (Christine Jardine)

Christine Jardine MP

The highly worrying increases in domestic violence under lockdown have led to at least 3 homicides in England and Wales which would not otherwise have happened, and they make the Domestic Abuse Bill even more urgent. This long-overdue Bill was first brought in by Theresa May, but was stopped in its tracks by the December 2019 general election. It is now going through some of its final Commons stages, with Christine Jardine MP leading for the Liberal Democrats.

Kate Smith, Derbyshire Policing Spokesperson, says: "Christine and colleagues have already significantly improved this welcome Bill, and that's a tribute to the brave survivors who have come forward to tell their stories, and to campaigning groups like Refuge."

Now Christine's new Amendment enables "special measures" in Family Courts, so that abuse victims are categorised as Vulnerable and Intimidated Witnesses under the terms of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999. This allows sufferers of alleged abuse additional protections from their abusive (usually male) partner.

Adds Kate, "Theresa May was not a popular PM, but credit where it's due - few people realise this desperately necessary Bill would not have been possible without her work. Too often, perpetrators use Court proceedings to continue their abuse and coercive control. We've heard survivors describe how painful and traumatic court appearances can be; it's excellent news that now, Christine Jardine has also successfully amended the Bill to allow them to relax just a little more in Court."