A Westminster Hall debate on Children and Domestic Abuse has been scheduled for Tuesday 3 March 2020 from 4.30-5.30pm. The debate has been initiated by Liz Twist MP.
In the 2017 Queen’s Speech the May Government committed to introduce domestic abuse legislation. The Government consulted on its legislative proposals in 2018 and produced a draft Domestic Abuse Bill in January 2019. Following extensive consultation and pre-legislative scrutiny, the Government introduced the Domestic Abuse Bill 2017-19 to Parliament in July 2019. Library Briefing Paper 8630 Domestic Abuse Bill 2017-19 sets out full background. However, the Bill fell after Second Reading due to the December 2019 election.
The Johnson Government is planning to introduce the Domestic Abuse Bill again this session – it was included in the December 2019 Queen’s Speech (see pages 79 to 81 of the Government’s Background Briefing Notes). Home Office Minister Kit Malthouse has indicated that the Bill “will return to Parliament before Easter” (HC Deb 5 February 2020 c161WH).
The following Library publications set out relevant background on domestic abuse and children:
- Insights for the New Parliament: Will this be the Parliament to enact a domestic abuse bill?
- Children: child arrangements orders – when agreement cannot be reached on contact and residence (Great Britain) (CBP 8761)
- Children: parental alienation and the role of Cafcass (England) (CBP 8763)
- Children: child arrangements orders – safeguards when domestic abuse issues arise (England and Wales) (CBP 8764)
In response to a recent parliamentary question about what the Government is doing to support children who have witnessed domestic abuse, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland QC said:
Domestic abuse has a devastating impact on children and young people, which is why the Government have provided £8 million over the last two years for services designed to support children who are affected by it. We are also supporting the roll-out of Operation Encompass, which ensures that information is shared between the police and local schools when children have been exposed to domestic abuse. Following last year’s children in need review, we have committed ourselves to further action to improve the way in which that service is delivered. (HC Deb 25 February 2020 cc167-8)
Operation Encompass is a charitable organisation that connects police with schools to offer immediate support for children and young people experiencing domestic abuse. For further details please see the Operation Encompass website.
Full details of the “children in need review” are available on gov.uk: see Department for Education, Policy paper: Review of children in need, June 2019.