Mothers’ Union welcomes renewed Government focus on combating domestic violence and abuse, and calls for “due care and attention” in their creation

Mothers’ Union (MU) strongly welcomes plans by the Government to introduce new legislation addressing domestic violence and abuse. Plans for two new laws, the Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill, and the Courts Bill were announced in Wednesday’s Queen’s speech at the state opening of Parliament. 

However, we call on the Government to ensure that due care and attention is given to the creation of this new legislation, and that appropriate counsel is sought from those who have first-hand experience, experts, and civil society. 

“We are also calling on the Government to ensure that a holistic approach is taken in addressing this issue,” says Rose Wright, our Campaigns and Social Policy Officer. 

“This needs to focus on the prevention of domestic violence and abuse,through education and addressing harmful norms, particularly around gender; the protection of survivors; the provision of specialist services for those impacted by domestic violence and abuse; and the safe and effective rehabilitation of perpetrators,” she continues. 

MU has been heavily involved in calling for an end to all forms of violence against women and girls, including domestic violence and abuse, which kills two women a week in England and Wales, and will affect at least one in four women in their lifetime.  In 2015 MU advocated for the introduction of a new crime of Coercive and Controlling Behaviour, brought in as part of the 2015 Serious Crime Act, providing information and evidence to Government throughout this process. 

The charity also voiced concerns about recent changes to the way Child Maintenance is administered in England and Wales, which potentially leave parents and children who have experienced domestic abuse at risk. These changes mean that those unable or unwilling to make direct agreements about child maintenance with the other parent of their child, are charged a fee for using the Collect and Pay mechanism. This unfairly penalises, and places at risk, those who have experienced domestic abuse and for whom it may be unsafe to make an agreement directly with a former partner. 

MU’s concerns were mirrored and its written evidence was quoted in the recent House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee report on the Child Maintenance Service 

“We are extremely encouraged to see the Government continuing to address domestic violence and abuse. Momentum on this issue must be maintained,” stresses Wright.