Theresa May will directly oversee the creation of new laws to deal with domestic abuse in England and Wales, the government has said.
Downing Street said current legislation lacked clarity and it was “unacceptable” that some areas worked harder to tackle abuse than others. A new act would aim to address this inconsistency and make the law work better for victims.
Labour said success depended on funding for policing and to support victims.
Mrs May said it was an issue she had always attached a “personal importance” to. “Domestic violence and abuse is a life-shattering and absolutely abhorrent crime,” she said. “There are thousands of people who are suffering at the hands of abusers – often isolated, and unaware of the options and support available to them to end it.”
It is unclear what shape the Domestic Violence and Abuse Act might take, but the government is consulting with experts who work with victims of abuse.
Their ideas and suggestions will help shape the new laws.
Diana Barran, chief executive of anti-abuse charity SafeLives, said she would like to see legislation simplified and consolidated.
She said the police’s inconsistent response was partly down to “cultural blocks”. Officers did not always take reports seriously, and had to deal with a large number of cases.
Domestic abuse in figures Year ending March 2016
1.8m people aged 16-59 who told Crime Survey for England and Wales they were a victim
- 1.2m Female victims
- 651,000 Male victims
- 79% Did not contact police
- 100,930 Cases resulted in prosecution
Source: Office for National Statistics
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If you or someone you has been affected by Domestic Abuse, contact Nichola Skayman and her team on 01529 301300 or email Nichola.firstname.lastname@example.org