Charities and women’s rights organisations call on the Prime Minister to deliver the Domestic Abuse Bill

Thursday 5th September 2019

Charities and women’s rights organisations, including Women’s Aid, Imkaan and the Centre for Women’s Justice have written to the Prime Minister seeking an assurance that the Domestic Abuse Bill will not be dropped amidst the current political turmoil.

The letter highlights that over the past two years survivors have shared their traumatic experiences and spent significant time and effort in campaigning for this new law. It also notes that the Domestic Abuse Bill has already faced numerous delays since it was introduced in 2017.

The 50 signatories include domestic abuse charities, children charities, academics and human rights organisations who urge the PM to make a clear public commitment to delivering the Bill within the next parliamentary session.

Nicki Norman, Acting Co-Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:

“As the political agenda and parliamentary timetable changes by the minute, we are seeking an assurance that the government will deliver the domestic abuse bill. Whatever happens next, the Prime Minister must confirm that protecting the rights and safety of survivors is a priority.

Over two years, thousands of survivors have bravely shared their experiences of domestic abuse with the government and fought to improve support for women and children. They must not be betrayed.”

The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP

Prime Minister

10 Downing Street

London

SW1A 2AA

5 September 2019

Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing to seek assurance that vital legislation to protect survivors of domestic abuse remains a priority for the government.

The Domestic Abuse Bill is a pivotal moment. Crucially, it will enable the UK Government to ratify the Istanbul Convention, the landmark international treaty for preventing and combating violence against women. We were pleased to hear recent assurances from your Home Secretary that the Bill must remain part of the government’s domestic agenda, but in light of the decision to prorogue parliament we are writing to seek direct confirmation that your government will prioritise the passing of this Bill in the months ahead.

Over the past two years survivors, frontline specialist services, parliamentarians and the organisations listed below have provided significant expertise to the development of this legislation to ensure it achieves its full potential. Through written consultation, focus groups, events and the pre-legislative scrutiny committee, survivors have shared their lived experiences of domestic abuse, which can be highly traumatic, with your government. It is crucial that their courage and determination to improve legal protection for women and children in the future is listened to and acted on.

The Bill has already suffered a number of delays, and survivors cannot wait any longer for critical protections and support. We are clear that the Domestic Abuse Bill must continue its passage through parliament and deliver the reforms that survivors are calling for – from long-term housing and fully funded specialist services for all survivors of abuse, to a safe child contact and family court system. It is of course essential that the Bill provides equal protection and support for all victims, without discrimination on any ground – including immigration status.

This is urgent work, and we are committed to working with your government to protect and support survivors and their children, and towards the societal shifts we need to end domestic abuse. We hope to hear from you as soon as possible with your assurance that Domestic Abuse Bill remains a priority for your government and will continue its progress within the next parliamentary session.

Yours sincerely,

Nicki Norman, Co-Chief Executive, Women’s Aid

Baljit Banga, Executive Director, Imkaan

Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive, Refuge

Suzanne Jacob, Chief Executive Officer, SafeLives

Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, Director, Surviving Economic Abuse

Pragna Patel, Director, Southall Black Sisters

Andrea Simon, Head of Public Affairs, End Violence Against Women Coalition

Gisela Valle, Director, Latin American Women’s Rights Service

Nik Noone, Chief Executive Officer, Galop

Jo Todd, Chief Executive Officer, Respect

Eleri Butler, Chief Executive Officer, Welsh Women’s Aid

Donna Covey, Chief Executive, AVA (Against Violence and Abuse)

Diana Nammi, Executive Director, IKWRO

Jemima Olchawski, Chief Executive, Agenda

Nicole Jacob, Chief Executive Officer, Standing Together Against Domestic Violence

Mary Mason, Chief Executive Officer, Solace Women’s Aid

Frank Mullane, Director, Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse

Zlakha Ahmed, Chief Executive, Apna Haq

Julie Bentley, Chief Executive, Action for Children

Mark Russell, Chief Executive Officer, The Children’s Society

Lyndsey Dearlove, Head, UK SAYS NO MORE

Harriet Wistrich, Director, Centre for Women’s Justice

David Jamieson, Police and Crime Commissioner, West Midlands

Paul Streets OBE, Chief Executive, Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales

Reham Khan, Founder, Reham Khan Foundation

Jane Gordon, Legal Director, Sisters For Change

Mandip Ghai, Senior Legal Officer, Rights of Women

Robyn Andréo-Boosey, Director, IC Change campaign

Cath Dovey, Chair, Rosa Fund

Clare Collier, Advocacy Director, Liberty

Gemma Braithwaite, Chief Officer, DIAS Domestic Violence Centre

Shigufta Khan, Chief Executive Officer, Blackburn & Darwen District Without Abuse

Jag Dhadwal, Director of Finance, ASSIST Trauma Care

Naz Ghodrati, Chief Executive Officer, Stockport Without Abuse

Christine Morgan, Chief Executive Officer, Eve

Richinda Taylor, Chief Executive, Eva Women’s Aid

Cathy Lunt, General Manager, West Cornwall Women’s Aid

Susan Wallis, Chief Executive Officer, North Devon Against Domestic Abuse

Professor Jane Callaghan, Director Child Wellbeing & Protection, University of Stirling

Dr Emma Katz, Senior Lecturer in Childhood and Youth, Liverpool Hope University

Hannah Shead, Chief Executive Officer, Trevi House

Dr Liza Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, SATEDA

Jacqui Nasuh, Project Manager, Merseyside Domestic Violence Service

Joyce Simon, Manager, Anah Project

Ursula Lindenberg, Director, VOICES

Maureen Storey, Director, Vida Sheffield

Clare Wiggett, Director, Sheffield Women’s Aid

Pam Whittle, Services Manager, Crossroads Derbyshire

Samantha Fisher, Chief Executive Officer, TDAS (Trafford Domestic Abuse Services)

Jo Tunnard, Lead Trustee, Noel Buxton Trust

Charlotte Kneer, Chief Executive Officer, Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid

CC:

Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, Home Secretary

Rt Hon Robert Buckland MP, Secretary of State for Justice

If you are worried that your partner, or that of a friend or family member, is controlling and abusive, you can contact the Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge, on 0800 2000 247 or visit www.womensaid.org.uk 

For more information, please contact the Women’s Aid press office: 020 7566 2511 / [email protected] 

© 2019 Women's Aid Federation of England – Women’s Aid is a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 3171880.

Women’s Aid is a registered charity in England No. 1054154

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