Consultation closes on domestic abuse

domestic violence

Social work organisations have responded to the Home Secretary’s consultation on strengthening the law around domestic abuse.

I wrote about this in August expressing doubts that creating a new offence of domestic abuse, whilst laudable in intent, will be very difficult to enforce in practice because of the required burden of proof.

Nonetheless, I notice the Association for Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) believe the (potential) new offence around domestic abuse should widen its definition to include abuse by any family member.

The consultation closed last week and, as Community Care magazine reports, has received submissions from ADASS and the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) amongst others.

The consultation proposed a new prosecutable offence of “coercive and controlling behaviour” be introduced to allow victims of non-violent domestic abuse to pursue a conviction.

ADASS contends that extending the definition to include all family members would enable more adult victims of abuse to be safeguarded.

The BASW supports the idea of creating a recognisable offence around abuse, believing that if (social work) professionals see it as something lesser, it trivialises it, whereas if it becomes an offence, it is given more weight.

The Home Secretary seems intent on pushing forward with measures regardless of their controversy. However, as I said in August, the required burden of proof will render the offence of domestic abuse very difficult to prove.

It would seem, however, that the momentum is on the side of change.

Photo by Matt Reinbold via Flickr

Marilyn Stowe

The founder of Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers. She retired from Stowe Family Law in 2017.

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Stitchedup - October 22, 2014 at 2:52pm

The world has gone mad!

The state is intent on interfering in private family life to an extent that it will no longer be safe for a man to get involved with a woman.

God help us all.

Stitchedup - October 22, 2014 at 4:52pm

Meeting the burden of proof will not be a problem for the prosecution, the burden of proof will be on the accused…..i.e. guilty until proven innocent…. as has been the case for quite some time for domestic cases heard in the magistrates courts before a district judge or bench. Personally, if I ever found myself in the situation again I would push like hell for a hearing in the crown courts in the hope that I had a jury with an ounce of common sense.

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