MP wants more action taken to tackle ‘epidemic levels’ of domestic abuse

Sir Kevin Barron MP. Photo: Richard Maude.
Sir Kevin Barron MP. Photo: Richard Maude.

On average two women a week are killed by a current or former partner, writes Sir Kevin Barron MP.

The impact of domestic abuse on victims and those around them is devastating, and it is deeply upsetting that it remains at epidemic levels.

The Government finally published its draft Domestic Abuse Bill in January 2019, following repeated delays.

I believe that to effectively combat domestic violence there needs to be a long-term funding commitment from the Government to ensure there are sufficient resources available for abuse survivors.

A report in May 2018 from Women’s Aid and Queen Mary University of London found that 24 per cent of survivors surveyed reported being cross-examined by their abusive ex-partner during family court hearings.

This continues the ordeal faced by survivors and can be deeply traumatising.

It was therefore welcome that the draft Bill included measures to outlaw this.

I have also been calling for a wholesale review of the culture, practice and outcomes of the family courts for cases relating to child contact where there are allegations of domestic abuse.

The Government announced in May that a review will take place over the next three months to consider how the family courts protect children and parents in domestic abuse cases and other serious offences.

I will monitor the outcomes of this review closely.

In addition, I support the implement-ation of up to ten days of paid leave for those suffering from domestic abuse, and I believe employers should be required to have a domestic abuse employment policy.

Women’s Aid advises that anyone with concerns about their safety, or that of anyone they know, should contact the police in an emergency or call the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000247.