Chloe Smith MP urges victims of domestic abuse to come forward and take part in the Government’s consultation on the new Domestic Abuse Bill before it officially closes tomorrow. Chloe Smith MP gives thanks to the victims, support groups and experts who have already come forward to take part in the consultation of this vital piece of legislation.
Chloe has been working hard to improve domestic abuse laws in the wake of the murder of her constituent Kerri McAuley.
In the Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill the Government has proposed measures that will strengthen the tools available to law enforcement to beat this crime, and protect victims. Among other measures, the bill will define ‘Domestic Abuse’ in law and establish a Domestic Violence and Abuse Commissioner who will monitor the response of statutory agencies to cases involving domestic abuse. It proposes ways to better protect children affected by abuse, and helps agencies be better joined up.
Other proposed actions include the creation of a statutory aggravating factor in sentencing, similar to those already in law for hate crimes, for domestic abuse to toughen sentences when it involves or affects a child. Economic abuse will be recognised for the first time as a type of domestic abuse, covering controlling circumstances in which victims have finances withheld, are denied access to employment or transport, or are forced to take out loans and enter into other financial contracts.
The close of the consultation will mark the first step towards the Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill becoming law. The consultation is important because it allows for a comprehensive discussion of the Governments proposals allowing survivors of domestic violence to get involved in the legislative process by helping to shape the law.
The Bill will go through a process of pre-legislative scrutiny taking into account consultation responses from members of the public. After which, the Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill will be formally introduced into Parliament.
Chloe has been working closely in Parliament with Victoria Atkins, the Minister for Domestic Abuse, and in January the Minister came to Norwich to meet with representatives from Leeway, Norfolk Constabulary, other agencies and Kerri McAuley’s family. Chloe has publicised the consultation since then and urged constituents to take part so that local experience and expertise can be included.
Chloe Smith said: “As a constituency MP, it is incredibly important to me to be able to use local examples to make the laws of this land better. I urge anyone in Norwich who has experience or expertise to contribute it through this consultation so that we make it count and make it change. Kerri’s tragic death need not have been in vain if the law changes so that others are more safe in future. There’s a day left so make your voice heard.”
In the close of the consultation, the Bill will begin its progress through Parliament. Chloe Smith MP remains committed to supporting the passage of this Bill to ensure that victims of Domestic Abuse get the proper support and protection they need.