This briefing provides an overview of the Domestic Abuse Bill in advance of its second reading on 28 April 2020.

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The Domestic Abuse Bill 2019-21 (HC Bill 96) was introduced in the House of Commons on 3 March 2020. The Bill, together with its Explanatory Notes and an overview of its parliamentary progress, is available on the Parliament website. The Bill’s second reading is scheduled for 28 April 2020.

The Bill was announced during the Queen’s Speech on 19 December 2019, following a commitment in the Conservative Party manifesto to “support all victims of domestic abuse and pass the Domestic Abuse Bill.”

A draft version of the Bill was published on 21 January 2019 as part of the Government’s response to its ‘Transforming the response to domestic abuse’ consultation, which ran from March to May 2018. The draft Bill was scrutinised by the Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill, which reported on 11 June 2019. The Government responded to the Committee on 16 July 2019.

The Domestic Abuse Bill 2017-19 to 2019 was subsequently introduced to the House of Commons in July 2019, and received its Second Reading on 2 October 2019. However, it made no further progress before Parliament was dissolved for the December 2019 general election. 

The current version of the Bill largely replicates the 2017-19 to 2019 version, although it omits provisions relating to coercive control in Northern Ireland (now being taken forward by the Northern Ireland Assembly). It also includes a new statutory duty for local authorities to provide domestic abuse support, and expanded provisions prohibiting cross-examination in the courts.

Alongside the Bill, the Home Office and Ministry of Justice have published a collection of factsheets on Gov.uk, along with a collection of overarching documents. Paragraph 303 of the Explanatory Notes links to additional Government policy documents relating to domestic abuse. The Government has also issued a further response to the report from the Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill. This provides a further update on the Government’s position on several of the Committee’s recommendations, and includes a table analysing the differences between this Bill and the previous version.

  • Commons Research Briefing CBP-8787
  • Authors: Grahame Allen, Sally Lipscombe, Wendy Wilson
  • Topics: Crime, Criminal law

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