Documents to download

The Commons is due to consider Lords amendments on 15 April 2021. Section 5 of this briefing provides full background. The full list of amendments is available on the Parliament website, together with Explanatory Notes.

The Domestic Abuse Bill 2019-21 was introduced to the House on 3 March 2020. Second Reading took place on 28 April 2020. The Bill, together with its Explanatory Notes and an overview of its parliamentary progress, is available on the Parliament website. Overarching documents are available on Full policy background to the Bill as introduced is set out in Library Briefing Paper 8787 Domestic Abuse Bill 2019-20.

Committee Stage

The Bill was considered by a Public Bill Committee over 12 sittings between 4 – 17 June 2020. The Committee took evidence from expert witnesses for the first two sittings. A range of external stakeholders submitted written evidence to the Committee.

The only significant amendment made during Committee Stage was a Government New Clause on homelessness, which was agreed without a vote. There was only one division: on an Opposition amendment relating to the definition of “personally connected” in clause 2 of the Bill. The amendment – which would have extended the definition to cover carers – was negatived on division by 9 votes to 6.

Report and Third Reading

Report and Third Reading took place on took place on 3 July 2020. A number of Government amendments were agreed on Report. These covered the definition of domestic abuse as it applies to children, special measures and cross-examination in the family and civil courts, and the so-called ‘rough sex defence’.

There were two Opposition defeats on division: one relating to migrant victims of domestic abuse, and the other relating to the provision of community-based support services.

For full details on Report Stage and Third Reading please see Lords Library Note 2020-116 Domestic Abuse Bill: Briefing for Lords Stages. The Bill was given a Third Reading without division.

Lords amendments

The Bill was extensively amended in the Lords. The full list of amendments is available on the Parliament website, together with Explanatory Notes. The Commons is due to consider the amendments on 15 April 2021.

The Lords agreed a number of Government amendments (or amendments tabled with Government support), which provide for the following:

  • a statutory duty for the findings of a domestic homicide review to be sent to the Domestic Abuse Commissioner
  • a requirement for the Domestic Abuse Commissioner to publish a report on the need for community-based support services, and a requirement for local authorities to monitor the effect of strategies on accommodation-based services on the provision of community-based services
  • a statement that Domestic Abuse Protection Orders can include a requirement not to come within “a specified distance of any other specified premises” such as work places
  • extending the Bill’s existing provisions on special measures and cross-examination in civil proceedings
  • introducing further guidance on the use of so-called ‘barring orders’ under section 91(14) of the Children Act 1989
  • extending the offence of coercive and controlling behaviour in section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 to cover ex-partners and family members who do not live together
  • amending the offence of disclosing a private sexual photograph or film under section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 – commonly known as the ‘revenge porn’ offence – to include threats to disclose
  • introducing a new offence of non-fatal strangulation or suffocation
  • introducing a prohibition on charging for medical evidence to support a civil legal aid claim in domestic abuse cases

A Home Office/Ministry of Justice letter sets out background to the Government amendments agreed at Report.

The Government also suffered a number of defeats on division, resulting in amendments providing for the following:

  • amending the definition of “personally connected” in clause 2 to cover relationships between disabled people and carers
  • introducing a new requirement for formal accreditation of child contact centres and organisations that offer child contact services
  • requiring the Secretary of State to publish a strategy on judicial training in respect of family proceedings concerning rape, sexual and domestic abuse and coercive control
  • amending the law on self-defence as it applies to domestic abuse victims, and introducing a new statutory defence for victims of domestic abuse who are compelled to commit crimes
  • various provisions relating to migrant victims, including a prohibition on data-sharing for immigration purposes, new requirements regarding leave to remain and the destitution domestic violence concession, and a general statement of effective protection and support for all victims
  • extending existing legislation on Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements to cover serial and high-harm domestic abuse and stalking perpetrators, and requiring the Government to publish a perpetrator strategy

Documents to download

Related posts