Upcoming changes to the law on Domestic Abuse


On 29 April 2021, the “Domestic Abuse Act 2021” was made an act of parliament. This was a welcome piece of legislation given the distressingly high rates of domestic abuse incidents following the first Covid-19 lockdown in the UK in March 2020.

Dates for commencement for key provisions of the Act are yet to be set.  Although it is envisaged that most of the provisions of the Act will come into force during 2021/22.

Practically, it is important to note the introductions and changes that the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 has brought in. Some of the noteworthy provisions include::

  1. The Act creates a statutory definition for domestic abuse enshrined in law, this definition can be found here;
  2. The Act confirms  that a child who ‘sees or hears or experiences the effects of domestic abuse and is related to the victim or perpetrator is also considered to be a victim of that abuse.’ (section 3).
  3. The Act appoints a Domestic Violence Commissioner;
  4.  The Act prohibits offenders from cross examining their victims in person in the Family courts;
  5. The Act has created the provision for a domestic abuse protection notice (DAPN) and a domestic abuse protection order (DAPO);
  6. The Act places a duty on local authorities to give support to victims of domestic abuse and their children in refuges and safe accommodation.

A further article will be online in due course providing guidance on a DAPN and DAPO.

It remains a difficult and trying time for victims of abuse who are experiencing or are at a heightened risk of domestic abuse due to Covid-19 restrictions. It is imperative that those who are affected by domestic abuse are aware of the current legislation as well as the support services and resources available to them.

If you are experiencing or believe you are at risk of experiencing domestic abuse, please contact our Family Lawyers on 020 3909 8100 / 07891 484375.


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