Domestic Violence Bill- UK

The News

"Thousands of women in dangerous and abusive relationships could be left without the life-saving support they need."

Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, announced yesterday that a consultation period for the draft of the Domestic Abuse Bill has begun. May acknowledged that there is a lot of work left to be done to prevent women (and men) from suffering any form of abuse in their own homes. 

May stated last year that she wanted to prioritize an update on the laws concerning domestic abuse. Now that a draft has been written, people are being given a chance to share their thoughts on the bill and whether it will effectively protect victims of abuse.

"We want to hear from all those who have been affected by abuse, from survivors, frontline professionals, charities and the public to gather views on how, together, we can put a stop to it once and for all," said the government in a statement released today.

It seems that everyone is in support of a full re-evaluation of the laws surrounding domestic abuse, however, it will all be for nothing if the government won't protect the significant number of women's refuges that are at risk of closure in this country.

The Issue

Due to many financial cuts, many refuges rely heavily on supported housing. Individuals currently in need of this financial support are given money that goes straight to refuges once they get a place. 

If the government proposals suggested in October go through, this money will no longer be paid to individual service users. Instead, it will come in the form of a grant to local authorities, who will spend it to their discretion.

Basically, this means that money previously granted to refuges won't be directed to them anymore. A Women's Aid Survey revealed that this would force over half of refuges to shut down due to lack of funding. These support services are vital for hundreds, if not thousands, of women each year who need to flee violent homes and dangerous situations urgently. A change like this could be devastating. 

Read more, here.