Family Lawyer Victoria Aked explains more about the highly anticipated Domestic Abuse Act 2021 which became law on 29 April 2021.
For the first time, domestic abuse is being given a statutory definition which includes physical or sexual abuse, violent or threatening behaviour, controlling or coercive behaviour and emotional, psychological or other abuse.
The Act states that domestic abuse can be identified by a single incident or a course of conduct and, crucially, includes children as victims of domestic abuse in their own right if they have seen, heard and/or experienced the effect of the abuse.
Party A ("the victim") and Party B ("the perpetrator") have to have been "personally connected" which is also defined within the Act. Relationships where parties can be considered as "personally" connected include:
- Where A and B are, or have been, married
- Where A and B are, or have been, in a civil partnership
- Where A and B have been in an intimate personal relationship with one another.
- Where A and B have both had a parental relationship with the same child.
Whilst the Act creates specific criminal offences concerning issues such as non-fatal strangulation and the disclosure of sexual images, it also assists victims of domestic abuse during proceedings in the Family Court.
Over the next week we explore the Domestic Abuse Act in more detail and look at the changes it has made to Family Law.