29 April 2021 – Women’s Aid in Luton welcomes Domestic Abuse Act

Today the Domestic Abuse Bill became law, as the Domestic Abuse Act.

Women’s Aid in Luton sends a BIG thank you to the many survivors, campaigners and sister organisations who have worked hard and campaigned for this.

However not everything has been achieved. There are gaps in the legislation, which does not deliver protection for migrant women, despite the tireless campaigning of @southallblacksisters, the Step Up Migrant Women campaign led by the LAWRS and @evawuk. Insecure immigration status should never be a barrier to accessing support.

We need guarantees that councils will securely fund specialist women’s refuges under the statutory duty, as the Act does not currently mention the word ‘refuge’ at all.

In addition, there has been no change to the Universal Credit system which is currently paid by default into one account, enabling economic abuse.

However, it is true that the Domestic Abuse Act will have many benefits for survivors:

It will:

> Make threats to share intimate images a crime

>Potentially put refuge funding on a more sustainable footing – though the amount of funding still falls short of what is needed to ensure provision meets demand

> Give survivors of abuse priority need status when applying for homelessness assistance

> Establish the #DomesticAbuse Commissioner’s office in law

> Recognise children in the statutory definition of domestic abuse

> Include #EconomicAbuse in the statutory definition of domestic abuse

> Recognise post-separation abuse through coercion and control in the criminal law

> Ban cross-examination of survivors by perpetrators in the family and civil courts.

> Make non-fatal strangulation a specific crime

The above includes words by @Refuge and @Womensaid – thank you for helping us to provide this explanation.