New law promises support for victims abused overseas

Women and girls will be protected from violence committed abroad as part of the forthcoming Domestic Abuse Bill, the Government has confirmed.

Jun 28, 2017

Women and girls will be protected from violence committed abroad as part of the forthcoming Domestic Abuse Bill, the Government has confirmed. New legislation announced on Tuesday (June 28) will ratify the Istanbul Convention, tightening the law around overseas offending. The law will enable UK courts to prosecute British citizens for domestic abuse regardless of where in the world the offence was committed. It comes after the Government pledged £100 million to help tackle violence against women and girls. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “Domestic abuse has a devastating and life-long impact on victims, their children, family and friends and this government is determined to eradicate it. “These measures will help us bring justice to women who experience these abhorrent crimes anywhere in the world and shows perpetrators there is nowhere to hide. “This government has always been clear that we will ratify the Istanbul Convention and a Domestic Abuse Bill will allow us to deliver on that, demonstrating how we are driving international action to end violence against women.” An estimated 1.8 million people aged 16 to 59 were victims of domestic abuse in 2015/16, according to the Office for National Statistics. Abuse-related crimes recorded by police accounted for approximately ten per cent of total offences. The UK already complies with most elements of the Istanbul Convention, also known as the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women. However, extra legislation is required to extend UK jurisdiction to cover abuse offences committed overseas. The draft Domestic Abuse Bill was announced earlier this year as part of a government initiative to increase victim confidence. Last week’s Queen’s Speech set out how it will establish a Domestic Violence and Abuse Commissioner and define domestic abuse in law. The Bill will also enable courts to issue tougher sentences in cases that involve children. Justice Secretary David Lidington said: “We must do all we can to prevent domestic abuse and provide the very best support to victims. “That is why we are determined that those who commit these deplorable crimes feel the full force of the law. “This government is committed to delivering a system that protects victims and increases convictions.”

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