The Domestic Abuse Act 2021
Domestic Abuse Act 2021, it will provide improved protection for the many victims of domestic abuse (DA) as well as strengthened measures to tackle perpetrators. Key provisions include:
- For the first time, a new wide-ranging statutory definition of DA, incorporating abuses beyond physical violence, such as emotional abuse, coercive or controlling behaviour and economic abuse.
- New powers for the police and courts as part of a new system of DA Protection Notices and Orders (DAPNs/DAPOs) – the notices will enable victims to be provided with immediate protection and the orders include measures to prevent re-offending by requiring perpetrators to change their behaviour through mental health support or drug/alcohol rehabilitation etc.
- Recognising that an abuser can exert controlling or coercive behaviour on a victim, even if the parties do not live together – the specific offence of controlling or coercive behaviour will be extended to cover non-separation abuse.
- Extending the existing ‘revenge porn’ offence to cover the threat to disclose intimate images.
- Clarification of the law in order to further address claims around ‘rough sex gone wrong’ in cases involving death or serious injury through the creation of a new offence of non-fatal strangulation.
- Establishing in law the office of DA Commissioner and set out their functions and powers (Nicole Jacobs is already in the designate role).
- Placing existing guidance supporting the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (also referred to as ‘Clare’s Law’) on a statutory footing, i.e. making it a legal requirement to follow.
- Increasing access to special measures in courts to help prevent intimidation, e.g. screens and giving evidence via video link.
- Ensuring abusers will no longer be able to directly cross-examine victims in the family and civil courts.
- A new duty on Local Authorities, expected to come formally into effect from summer 2021, to provide support to DA victims and their children in refuges and other safe accommodation – such support could include therapy, advocacy and counselling. Eligible victims of DA will be automatically granted ‘priority need’ for homelessness assistance. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government noted Local Authorities have received £125 million from central Government to fund the new duty including for the commissioning of additional support services and improving links between existing providers.
The amendments which, once brought into force, will make non-fatal strangulation a specific offence; and recognition that an abuser can exert controlling or coercive behaviour on a victim, even if the parties do not live together were welcomed. However, the need for more sustainable funding for support services to assist victims of domestic abuse to provide sustainability, stability and building capacity and resilience is needed.
Further information in the form of a 7-Minute briefing note can be found here
Safer North Tyneside has produced a short video about the Domestic Abuse Act (click here)
North Tyneside Domestic Abuse Board
The Domestic Abuse Partnership has been replaced by the newly formed Domestic Abuse Board. The DAB coordinates strategy and resources to afford protection, provision and prevention for people exposed to domestic abuse in North Tyneside.
Information for professionals and agencies
North Tyneside has a well established Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) process.
Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference’s (MARAC) are recognised nationally as best practice for addressing cases of domestic abuse that are categorised as high risk. A MARAC allows agencies to identify the high risk domestic abuse cases and for the identified risk to be managed through a multi-agency forum.
Further information can be found at www.safelives.org.uk.
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse takes many forms. If you are being controlled, threatened or physically assaulted by someone you live with (or used to live with) that is domestic abuse.
It is not always easy to talk about domestic abuse or to know what you want to happen. You may feel frightened, ashamed, confused and guilty.
All of that is understandable. It can happen to anyone and any kind of relationship. But you have a right to live free from fear and are not to blame for someone else’s violence and abuse.
Operation Encompass has been launched in North Tyneside to safeguard and support children and young people who have been involved in a domestic abuse incident.
North Tyneside Council and Northumbria Police are working with all schools in North Tyneside to make sure that school staff are made aware of an incident early enough to support children and young people.
Schools across North Tyneside will nominate two members of staff who will be known as Key Adults and receive specific training.
For more information, please visit www.operationencompass.org or contact your local school.
Child to Parent Violence and Abuse (CPVA)
CPVA is a form of domestic abuse in which a parent is experiencing physical violence or controlling and coercive behaviour from their child. Currently the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner is promoting a regional response to to CPVA and Northumbria Police are working closely with LSCPs to achieve this. The PCC has funded specialist training for practitioners and in North Tyneside this includes two members of the Youth Offending Team and two members of the Children’s Social Care Early Help Team.
Local information and support
NT Harbour Domestic Abuse Support Service
Provides refuge accommodation for women, outreach for male and female over 16 years old, an IDVA service and group work. Access to the service is 24hrs a day by telephone with face-t-face contact between the hours of 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 11am to 4pm Saturday. Telephone (0191) 251 3305, 0300 0202 525 or visit www.myharbour.org.uk
Counselling, support and advice for children and young people, aged 6 – 18years old, who have witnessed domestic abuse. Telephone (0191) 200 6302 (office hours only) or visitwww.acornsproject.org.uk
Victims First Northumbria
Support and advice to victims of crime throughout Northumbria. Telephone 0800 011 3116 or visit www.victimsfirstnorthumbria.org.uk
The police can take action against an abuser and give advice on home security and other matters. In an emergency ring 999, at other times ring 101 and ask for the crime desk or visit www.northumbria.police.uk
For housing advice and help with re-housing contact a customer service centre in person or by phone during office hours. You can ask for an appointment to see either a female or male officer in private if you wish. For emergency accommodation (out of hours) telephone (0191) 200 6800.
Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland
National information and support
National Centre for Domestic Violence
Telephone 0844 8044 999 or visit www.ncdv.org.uk.
Telephone 0808 2000 247 (free phone 24 hour helpline) or visit www.womensaid.org.uk.
The Men’s Advice Line
Telephone 0808 801 0327 or visit www.mensadviceline.org.uk.
Information and advice for people who are abusive towards their partners. Telephone 0808 802 4040 or visit www.respectphoneline.org.uk.
Broken Rainbow Helpline
Information and signposting to services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people experiencing domestic violence. Telephone 0800 999 5428.
Forced Marriage Unit
Telephone 0207 008 0151 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm) or 020 7008 1500 (Out of hours, ask for the Global Response Centre).
The charity Women’s Aid created www.thehideout.org.uk because children and young people said they wanted more information about domestic violence that’s easy to read and understand.
Domestic abuse and young people
For information on keeping children safe and identifying the signs of domestic abuse visit the NSPCC website.
Northumberland Domestic Abuse Services (NDAS), a Northumberland based independent charity has worked with Raw Productions, to produce a powerful and emotive film that focuses on young people’s struggles with coercive and controlling relationships.
The film highlights the dangers of emotional abuse in teenage relationships. Too many young people are coerced into controlling relationships by their partners, who use their power to emotionally control every aspect of their lives.