WEALDEN MP WELCOMES LANDMARK DOMESTIC ABUSE BILL

Nus Ghani, MP for Wealden, is proud to support to the Domestic Abuse Bill, which has passed its remaining stages in the House of Commons. The Bill will see victims of this heinous crime better protected and ensure perpetrators are punished and feel the full force of the law.
 
Nus has personally campaigned for five years to get the law to recognise all forms of domestic abuse as a crime as well as to ensure additional resources to support victims. Nus proudly supported the campaign to end a “rough sex defence” and is pleased to see this new clause enshrined in the Bill. Rough sex defence was increasingly used in court cases where a person has been killed or violently assaulted during sexual intercourse. The defence was used to insinuate that fatal injuries inflicted on a person were at their request during “rough sex”.

The new clause ensures that consent to serious harm for sexual gratification would not be a defence and, by extension, nor would consent apply where such sexual activity resulted in the victim’s death. 

Other powers within the Bill address the following issues:

  • Impact of domestic abuse on children. This new clause provides that a child who sees or hears, or experiences the effects of, domestic abuse and is related to the person being abused or the perpetrator is also to be regarded as a victim of domestic abuse. This will help to ensure that locally commissioned services consider and address the needs of children affected by domestic abuse. 
  • Special measures in family and civil proceedings. The Bill already ensured that victims of domestic abuse are automatically entitled to special measures in criminal proceedings (so that they can, for example, give their evidence from behind a screen or via a video link). There are two new clauses that now extend that automatic eligibility to victims giving evidence in family and civil proceedings.
  • Prohibition of cross-examination in person in civil proceedings. The Bill already gives effect to a long-standing commitment to prohibit domestic abuse perpetrators cross-examining their victims in person in family proceedings (matching the existing position in the criminal courts). Such cross-examination can serve to re-traumatise victims and prevent them giving their best evidence in court. This clause will also prohibit cross-examination in person in civil proceedings. 

Nus Ghani said: “It is a sad but inescapable truth that domestic violence is a horrific reality for thousands of people, both women and men, around the UK. Every year, I receive an overwhelming number of correspondence from Wealden constituents regarding the issue of domestic violence. I am committed to combating domestic violence by raising awareness, as well as continuously campaigning for better protection of victims. I continue to work with Sussex Police on a coordinated campaign across Wealden which attempts to reach victims and ensure they and the community are kept safe.”
 
“It is unacceptable that defendants suggest that the death of a person is justified, excusable or legally defensible simply because it is claimed that the victim consented to violent and harmful sexual activity that resulted in serious harm or even death. I am delighted that this landmark legislation is finally in place to protect and support victims of domestic abuse and their children, and to bring perpetrators to justice.”
 
Anyone in fear of their safety should contact the police and if unable to speak can dial 55 after 999, to alert the police.
 
In Sussex, domestic violence victims and survivors can get in touch with The Portal, a partnership of leading domestic and sexual abuse and violence charities, who help people find the right support, as well as offering advice and help to families and friends. Please see www.theportal.org.uk for further information or they can be contacted via info@theportal.org.uk or 0300 323 9985.