spotCampaigns

spotOrganisations

spotArguments for socialism

spotPeople

spotInternational

spotEvents

spotAround the UK


All keywords


All Campaigns subcategories:

Anti-capitalism

Anti-fascist

Anti-racism

Anti-war

Asylum

Black and Asian

Children

CNWP

Corporate crime

Disability

Education

Election campaigns

Environment

EU

Finance

Food

Gender Recognition Act

Health and safety

Health and welfare

Housing

Human Rights

LGBT Pride

Local government

Local services

Low pay

Migration

Nationalisation

New workers party

NHS

Pensions

Post Office

Poverty

Privatisation

Public Services

Socialism

Socialist

Sport

Stop the slaughter of Tamils

Students

The state

Transport

TUSC

Welfare rights

* Women

Workplace and TU campaigns

Youth


Women keywords:

1967 Abortion Act (9)

Abortion (116)

Babies (13)

Beauty industry (1)

Childcare (87)

Discrimination (96)

Domestic violence (93)

Dress (8)

Equal pay (45)

Family (135)

Feminism (31)

IVF (2)

International Womens day (8)

Lap-dancing (3)

Lone parents (5)

Maternity (45)

Midwifery (3)

Midwives (18)

Muslim women (7)

Pregnancy (20)

Pro-life (6)

Prostitutes (7)

Prostitution (10)

Rape (70)

Right to choose (32)

Sex (42)

Sexism (101)

Sexual harassment (21)

Socialist women (14)

Veil (4)

Violence against women (43)

Women (682)

womens rights (1)

Domestic violence


Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 1127, 31 March 2021: Unite and fight - For the right to protest

Search site for keywords: Women - Government - Family - Cuts - Domestic violence

Domestic Abuse Bill: So much still to fight for

Protesting against domestic abuse service closures in Brighton. Photo Brighton SP , photo Brighton SP

Protesting against domestic abuse service closures in Brighton. Photo Brighton SP , photo Brighton SP   (Click to enlarge)

Eleanor Donne, Essex Socialist Party

The Domestic Abuse Bill is now in its final stages of debate and expected to become law in England in April 2021, with some parts also applying in Wales.

The backdrop to the parliamentary debate has been what Women's Aid have called a "shadow pandemic" of violence against women and girls, with calls and online contact to domestic abuse services rocketing since March 2020.

While the bill introduces some positive changes in the response of the criminal justice and courts system to domestic abuse, it is silent on the many significant economic barriers that women in particular face when trying to escape an abusive partner: such as the benefit cap and the two-child limit on Universal Credit, access to affordable childcare and a genuine living wage.

Women whose immigration status doesn't allow them access to public funds are still left relying on charities or forced to remain with an abusive partner.

The right to paid leave for employees facing domestic abuse, which was part of Jeremy Corbyn's election manifesto, is also absent.

We can't rely on the Tory government or Starmer's Labour to grant us rights at work. The trade unions must fight to ensure that effective domestic abuse policies are implemented by employers.

A positive change in England (it's already the case in Wales and Scotland) is that anyone who is homeless because of fleeing domestic abuse and is eligible (under immigration laws) will be automatically classed as vulnerable.

The majority of people fleeing domestic abuse are women with children, who, because of the children, already have a priority need. This new duty, however, is important for single, childless adults and in itself is a positive step. However, without adequate funding, given current restrictions on help with rent for those under 35, it will leave local authorities struggling to meet the need, especially for younger people.

The commitment to 'like for like' tenancies for those fleeing secure tenancies is also welcome. But in the context of a chronic shortage of council housing and genuinely affordable housing association tenancies, and where councils often don't manage their own housing stock, this looks like an empty promise.

Coercive control

The wider statutory definition of domestic abuse, which includes emotional, coercive and controlling behaviour and economic abuse, is an important and overdue measure. Coercive control in particular has been inadequately recognised as a significant risk factor in escalating abuse, especially after the survivor ends a relationship.

Importantly, this bill will allow the charge of coercive control to apply when the abuser and victim don't live together.

The new right for survivors themselves, a family member or support worker to apply to the magistrates court for a Domestic Abuse Protection Order (DAPO) could be an important change given that the police often don't use the powers that they have in domestic abuse cases.

Other measures such as the Domestic Abuse Disclosure Scheme are not new, but formalised into law. Calls by organisations such as Paladin, the national stalking advocacy service, to implement a national 'stalkers and domestic abusers register' were initially rejected by the government, but it has come under increasing pressure over the issue since the murder of Sarah Everard.

It has agreed to accept an amendment on the issue of 'revenge porn' which expands the law to make threatening to disclose intimate images with the intention to cause distress a crime. The reasoning behind this is that such threats can be used as an aspect of coercive control to prevent someone leaving an abuser or disclosing domestic abuse.

It has also 'firmed up' existing case law by putting into the bill a confirmation that 'a person may not consent to the infliction of serious harm and, by extension, is unable to consent to their own death'.

This follows an 18-month campaign by the organisation We Can't Consent to This in response to recent murder/manslaughter trials where the accused claimed (in some cases successfully) that the victim died because of consensual 'rough sex' that 'went too far'.

Women's Aid has calculated that the government would need to commit 173.8 million per year on refuge services alone to provide a national network of sustainable and safe refuges that meets the needs of all survivors and their children.

Refuge providers hoped that this bill would result in longer-term funding, enabling them to plan based on need for specialist services, including refuges for black, Asian and minority ethnic women, LGBTQ people, disabled people, men and those with alcohol or drug addiction issues.

However, the government's impact assessment published with the bill costs the duty at nearly half the Women's Aid figure - 90 million a year, but with little clarity as to how this was calculated. It has also stated that domestic abuse funding to councils will go into the 'general funding pot' and be subject to comprehensive spending reviews (ie cuts).

In its response to consultation on the bill, the Local Government Association said: "There is unlikely to be any significant funding available for domestic abuse services, when councils will need up to four times the funding they have been allocated by government so far to cover the costs of Covid-19".

Our question to them is: 'What are you going to do about this?' Labour councils, which make up the majority in the country, have failed to use their reserves and borrowing powers to fund services, and their potential collective power to lead a fight for more funding from the Tory government. Instead, they have passed on cuts to the most vulnerable in their communities, including reducing or stopping refuge funding altogether, leading to an estimated one in six refuges closing since 2010.

If they are not prepared to defend their communities in the face of the latest round of cuts they should step aside. This is why Socialist Party members are standing as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in the May elections on a platform of opposing all cuts (see 'A working-class, anti-cuts challenge for the elections in May').

We say:

Domestic Abuse Bill - key points

The Domestic Abuse Disclosure Scheme 'Clare's Law' formally adopted in law giving a 'Right to Ask' the police about a partner/ex-partner's offending history. The police have a 'Right to Disclose' information if they think this is necessary to prevent a crime from taking place.

'A Fighting Programme for Women's Rights and Socialism'

Socialist Party new publication

1 including postage, from leftbooks.co.uk

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 







Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999