New domestic abuse legislation welcomed

New legislation designed to tackle domestic abuse and violence against women and girls is being welcomed in Liverpool.

The Domestic Abuse Act strengthens rules surrounding controlling and coercive behaviour, aims to tackle revenge porn, makes non-fatal strangulation an offence and ends the ‘rough sex defence’. It also includes the recognition of children as victims of domestic abuse in their own right.

Nine Liverpool residents have lost their lives to domestic abuse in the last year and requests for support services have risen by a fifth.

Support agencies are seeing ever complex cases, as families worry about money, home schooling and general uncertainty, which compound issues of abuse.

One in three contacts to Children Social Care cite domestic abuse as an issue, compared to one in five a year ago. 

Jenny Ewels, Head of Safer and Stronger Communities, said: “The new laws which have been passed are to be very much welcomed and will help tackle the issue of domestic abuse.

“However we recognise it is just the starting point for supporting victims, and we will continue to work with partners and the government to develop the approach to challenging domestic abuse and Violence Against Women and Girls.   

“We know that one of the hardest things for people suffering abuse is coming forward and speaking out and it is important to remember that you are not alone.  Please do not suffer in silence – local services are able to offer support and advice.”

People whose child or family are at immediate risk of harm should contact the police urgently on 999.

Those needing information or support; or suspect someone is being subjected to domestic abuse should contact the following numbers:

Women – 0808 2000 247 (free 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline)

Men – 0808 801 0327 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) (free Men’s Advice Line)

For local Services for domestic/sexual abuse, forced marriage and “honour” crimes and support for children: https://liverpool.gov.uk/communities-and-safety/crime-and-safety/domestic-abuse/

Anyone who is concerned about their own abusive behaviour can contact Respect on 0808 802 4040 (free helpline).