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published: 9 March 2020
The long-awaited Domestic Abuse Bill contains some good measures – but there is still a way to go to ensure proper protection for victims, writes Jess Phillips MP.
The Domestic Abuse Bill is to be welcomed. I have for the past three years felt like a 5-year-old in the back of the car who asks as every mile of a journey passes, “are we nearly there yet?”. The assurance that, “we expect the second reading of the bill to be before Easter” has been said to me for two years and I am only kicking myself that I didn’t ask ministers which year or even which decade they meant.
I really hope that all the false starts, prorogations and, “it just needs a bit more work” days are done, and we will see this bill in front of the House and scrutinised properly and in public at last.
The bill has some good stuff in it, placing domestic abuse secure accommodation and refuge on a statutory footing, and demanding that all tier one local authorities (county councils and unitary authorities) must provide it. It appears to be coming with money to do it too. Big tick.
Of course, only a very small percentage of victims and their children ever go into a refuge and the majority of support provided for domestic abuse victims is in the community and relies on the availability of social housing. These are less well catered for in the bill currently and so it will need some work on this.