Domestic Abuse Bill
We are lobbying for the Domestic Abuse Bill to: recognise that domestic abuse victims are mostly women; provide vital resources so women and children can escape; extend all protections and resources to immigrant women and women with disabilities. As a member of the Support Not Separation Coalition we are lobbying for the Bill to prevent family courts enabling violent fathers to abuse mothers and children.
What’s the Bill about?
- Redefines domestic abuse, but leaves out gender.
- Gives police new powers to remove a violent person from the home and arrest them if they don’t stay away, with the threat of prison.
- Appoints a Domestic Abuse Commissioner.
- Instructs local authorities to provide services and resources to victims, but gives no government money to fund vital women’s services, such as refuges, nor money & housing directly to women and children.
- Prevents abusive fathers from cross-examining mothers in the family courts and extends other protections to civil courts.
It must go further . . .
So far the Bill is gender neutral, and there is no guarantee any of it will be used to help women victims. Without resources, how will it practically help women escape violence after a decade of austerity and the multiple crises of COVID-19?
The Bill’s protection must include immigrant women with no recourse to public funds and women with disabilities.
It must address the key problems identified by the Ministry of Justice Review of the family courts which found sexism, racism, disability and class discrimination are rife.
Summary here on Support Not Separation Blog
Violent men are routinely allowed to persecute mothers and our children because the legal presumption that children should have contact with uncaring/violent fathers trumps everything. Mothers who object are accused of “parental alienation”, their reports of violence disbelieved or dismissed as irrelevant. Children’s objections are also dismissed. They can even be removed and forced to live with an abuser, fostered or adopted.
The Bill must
- Recognise that overwhelmingly the victims are women and the attackers are men. Gender neutral hides that.
- Provide vital resources so women and children can escape and stay together.
- End No Recourse to Public Funds so immigrant women can escape violence and exploitation.
- Extend protection to women with disabilities.
- End the presumption that children should have contact with violent fathers. Family courts must protect women and children.
Immigrant Women protest No Recourse to Public Funds made jointly with @AfricanGr: "Immigrant women demand protection and resources in #DABill."
“Domestic Abuse Bill must: recognise that victims are overwhelmingly women; extend protections to immigrant and disabled women, stop violent men using family courts to terrorise us.” See our interview in SputnikNews
More press coverage here