UK Government’s domestic abuse reforms fails victims – Liz Saville Roberts MP Consultation announced following Plaid Cymru Private Members’ Bill
Domestic abuse reforms, announced today by the Home Secretary, do not go far enough, according to the MP who called for reforms through a Private Members’ Bill.
Liz Saville Roberts MP – Plaid Cymru’s Justice spokesperson – welcomed the consultation but warned the proposals announced by the Home Secretary will fail to tackle the problem of victims being cross-examined by their own perpetrators.
Ms Saville Roberts introduced a Private Members’ Bill in December 2017 which would have prevented convicted stalkers and domestic abusers, or anyone with a restraining order from bringing vexatious claims to the family and civil courts, in order to further abuse their victims. The Bill would prevent, in any circumstances, a perpetrator cross-examining their victim.
The Bill gained the support of every party represented in the House of Commons.
The reforms announced by the Home Secretary today stop short of Liz Saville Roberts’ proposals, ensuring only that victims will be able to be cross-examined via video link or behind a screen.
Commenting, Plaid Cymru’s Justice spokesperson, Liz Saville Roberts MP said:
“This consultation is an important step forward following the Private Members’ Bill I put forward in December, but the reforms proposed do not go far enough and will fail victims.
“Convicted stalkers and domestic abusers, even when subject to a restraining order, are able to bring vexatious claims to the Family and Civil Courts for the sole purpose of bringing their victims into the same room as them, to be abused once again. Victims are being forced to sit in waiting rooms with their perpetrators and are being cross-examined by their perpetrators in court.
“While allowing victims to be cross-examined via video link or behind a screen is a step forward, the reality is that a convicted perpetrator should never be allowed to cross-examine their own victim in court, whether behind a screen, via video link or in person.
“The Home Secretary needs to bring forward the Courts Bill and allow Parliament to debate it properly and amend it accordingly.”
Domestic abuse reform to end victims’ court ordeals: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/domestic-abuse-reform-to-end-victims-court-ordeals-2zhdxc7hp