Domestic abuse suspects face being banned from drinking alcohol and could be electronically tagged under a Government crackdown.
Courts and police would be given extra powers to ensure bullies stay away from partners and family members they are accused of tormenting, even if there is not enough evidence to charge them.
Domestic Violence Protection Orders, introduced in 2015 and which ban abusive partners from going near their home for up to 28 days, would be extended under proposals unveiled today by the Home Office.
For the first time, culprits could be required to attend parenting programmes, undergo drug and alcohol treatment or stay away from a specified place for more than four weeks to reduce the risk of them carrying out further abuse (stock image)
For the first time, culprits could be required to attend parenting programmes, undergo drug and alcohol treatment or stay away from a specified place for more than four weeks to reduce the risk of them carrying out further abuse.
Courts will also be given the power to fit suspects with an electronic tag to ensure they comply with strict conditions, such as staying away from a particular location or a ban on drinking alcohol.
Family members and third parties can make applications for orders to the authorities.
Breaching an order is a criminal offence punishable by up to two months in prison.
Research has shown that 30 per cent of women – about five million – and 16 per cent of men, or 2.5million, experience domestic abuse during their lives.
Ministers launched the consultation today to set out a host of proposed measures to be included in a draft Domestic Abuse Bill.
It will also introduce a new statutory definition of domestic abuse which for the first time includes a reference to ‘economic’ abuse. It would cover circumstances where bullies abuse their partners by denying them access to basic resources such as food, clothing and transportation. It could also include cases where abusers force victims to take out loans so they can spend the money.
We have a duty not only to support those affected but to prevent others falling victim in future
Other measures being considered for inclusion in the new Bill are tougher sentences for domestic abuse that affects children, and giving victims the same status in court as those who have suffered modern slavery or sex offences, meaning they could give their evidence from behind a screen, via video link or by pre-recording it. Theresa May said the proposals have the potential to ‘completely transform the way we tackle domestic abuse’.
The Prime Minister said: ‘Domestic abuse takes many forms, from physical and sexual abuse, to controlling and coercive behaviour that isolates victims from their families and has long-term, shattering impacts on their children.’
An estimated 1.9million adults aged 16 to 59 experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2017, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales.
Figures also show 82 women and 13 men were killed by a partner or former partner in 2016-17.
Justice Secretary David Gauke said: ‘The damage caused by domestic abuse can last a lifetime. We have a duty not only to support those affected but to prevent others falling victim in future’
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: ‘It is appalling that in 21st century Britain nearly two million people every year – the majority of them women – suffer abuse at the hands of those closest to them. I want to fundamentally change the way we as a country think about domestic abuse, recognising that it is a crime that comes in many forms – physical, emotional, economic.’
Justice Secretary David Gauke said: ‘The damage caused by domestic abuse can last a lifetime. We have a duty not only to support those affected but to prevent others falling victim in future.’
Katie Ghose, chief executive of Women’s Aid, welcomed the consultation. She said: ‘We want to see the Bill encompass and go beyond changes to the criminal justice system to include policies on housing, education, health, immigration and the welfare system to name but a few, to ensure that every survivor and her child can safely escape domestic abuse.’