This week, with Parliament back in session, Wera participated in the second reading of the Domestic Abuse Bill.
The bill would strengthen protections for survivors of domestic abuse, but it must go further. Wera is calling for:
• Children who have witnessed abuse should be included in the statutory definition of domestic abuse victims. Witnessing abuse in childhood is a traumatic experience and must be recognised as such.
• The Bill fails to safeguard survivors against homelessness. Under the current system, survivors of domestic are not automatically placed on priority needs lists for social housing. This means, all too often, survivors end up homeless.
• The cost of domestic abuse prevention orders should not be shouldered by cash-strapped police forces.
• The rights of migrant women must be protected.
• Most important and fundamental is for the UK government to ratify the Istanbul Convention, which more than 30 countries have already done. The Convention would make it legally binding for the government to provide support and protection services to rape victims.
We can do better.