Boris Johnson confirms plan to reintroduce domestic abuse bill next month

Posted On: 
12th September 2019

Ministers will reintroduce a bill aimed at tackling the “horrific crime” of domestic abuse next month, Boris Johnson has confirmed.

Boris Johnson had been under pressure not to renege on the bill which was introduced in July
PA Images

The Prime Minister said that the Queen's Speech on 14 October will include legislation on the issue, after the original bill was dropped following his decision to suspend Parliament.

Mr Johnson’s announcement follows pressure from opposition MPs and charities to ensure that it was not placed on the backburner while focus turned to October's Brexit deadline.

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Theresa May introduced the Domestic Abuse Bill in the weeks before she was due to stand down as PM in July, more than two years after plans for it were first announced.

It intended to bolster the definition of the crime, by allowing authorities to crack down on economic abuse and controlling and manipulative non-physical behaviour.

It would set up Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and Domestic Abuse Protection Orders that would allow earlier intervention from the police and courts where abuse is suspected.

The bill would also ban the cross-examination of victims by their abusers in the family courts and introduce a  Domestic Abuse Commissioner to hold local and national government to account.

In a tweet, Mr Johnson wrote: "Domestic abuse shatters lives & tears families apart.

"We are fully committed to tackling this horrific crime - which is why the Queen's Speech will confirm we will be reintroducing domestic abuse legislation in the next session."

Mr Johnson's intervention came shortly after Jeremy Corbyn tweeted a Guardian report from last week on a letter from Women's Aid, which urged the PM not to abandon the plans.

The Labour leader said: "The domestic abuse bill cannot be allowed to fail because of Boris Johnson’s undemocratic game playing.

"We must do so much more to protect survivors. The government should start by confirming to campaigners that the bill will continue its passage."

In its letter to Mr Johnson, the domestic abuse charity wrote: "We are writing to seek assurance that vital legislation to protect survivors of domestic abuse remains a priority for the government."

"The domestic abuse bill is a pivotal moment. Crucially, it will enable the UK government to ratify the Istanbul convention, the landmark international treaty for preventing and combating violence against women."