Domestic Abuse Act 2021

Year2021


Domestic Abuse Act 2021

2021 Chapter 17

An Act to make provision in relation to domestic abuse; to make provision for and in connection with the establishment of a Domestic Abuse Commissioner; to make provision for the granting of measures to assist individuals in certain circumstances to give evidence or otherwise participate in civil proceedings; to prohibit cross-examination in person in family or civil proceedings in certain circumstances; to make further provision about orders under section 91(14) of the Children Act 1989; to provide for an offence of threatening to disclose private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress; to provide for an offence of strangulation or suffocation; to make provision about circumstances in which consent to the infliction of harm is not a defence in proceedings for certain violent offences; to make provision about certain violent or sexual offences, and offences involving other abusive behaviour, committed outside the United Kingdom; and for connected purposes.

[29 April 2021]

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1 Definition of “domestic abuse”

PART 1

Definition of “domestic abuse”

S-1 Definition of “domestic abuse”

1 Definition of “domestic abuse”

(1) This section defines “domestic abuse” for the purposes of this Act.

(2) Behaviour of a person (“A”) towards another person (“B”) is “domestic abuse” if—

(a)

(a) A and B are each aged 16 or over and are personally connected to each other, and

(b)

(b) the behaviour is abusive.

(3) Behaviour is “abusive” if it consists of any of the following—

(a)

(a) physical or sexual abuse;

(b)

(b) violent or threatening behaviour;

(c)

(c) controlling or coercive behaviour;

(d)

(d) economic abuse (see subsection (4));

(e)

(e) psychological, emotional or other abuse;

and it does not matter whether the behaviour consists of a single incident or a course of conduct.

(4) “Economic abuse” means any behaviour that has a substantial adverse effect on B’s ability to—

(a)

(a) acquire, use or maintain money or other property, or

(b)

(b) obtain goods or services.

(5) For the purposes of this Act A’s behaviour may be behaviour “towards” B despite the fact that it consists of conduct directed at another person (for example, B’s child).

(6) References in this Act to being abusive towards another person are to be read in accordance with this section.

(7) For the meaning of “personally connected”, see section 2.

S-2 Definition of “personally connected”

2 Definition of “personally connected”

(1) For the purposes of this Act, two people are “personally connected” to each other if any of the following applies—

(a)

(a) they are, or have been, married to each other;

(b)

(b) they are, or have been, civil partners of each other;

(c)

(c) they have agreed to marry one another (whether or not the agreement has been terminated);

(d)

(d) they have entered into a civil partnership agreement (whether or not the agreement has been terminated);

(e)

(e) they are, or have been, in an intimate personal relationship with each other;

(f)

(f) they each have, or there has been a time when they each have had, a parental relationship in relation to the same child (see subsection (2));

(g)

(g) they are relatives.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1)(f) a person has a parental relationship in relation to a child if—

(a)

(a) the person is a parent of the child, or

(b)

(b) the person has parental responsibility for the child.

(3) In this section—

“child” means a person under the age of 18 years;

“civil partnership agreement” has the meaning given by section 73 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004;

“parental responsibility” has the same meaning as in the Children Act 1989 (see section 3 of that Act);

“relative” has the meaning given by section 63(1) of the Family Law Act 1996.

S-3 Children as victims of domestic abuse

3 Children as victims of domestic abuse

(1) This section applies where behaviour of a person (“A”) towards another person (“B”) is domestic abuse.

(2) Any reference in this Act to a victim of domestic abuse includes a reference to a child who—

(a)

(a) sees or hears, or experiences the effects of, the abuse, and

(b)

(b) is related to A or B.

(3) A child is related to a person for the purposes of subsection (2) if—

(a)

(a) the person is a parent of, or has parental responsibility for, the child, or

(b)

(b) the child and the person are relatives.

(4) In this section—

“child” means a person under the age of 18 years;

“parental responsibility” has the same meaning as in the Children Act 1989 (see section 3 of that Act);

“relative” has the meaning given by section 63(1) of the Family Law Act 1996.

2 The Domestic Abuse Commissioner

PART 2

The Domestic Abuse Commissioner

Domestic Abuse Commissioner

Domestic Abuse Commissioner

S-4 Appointment of Commissioner

4 Appointment of Commissioner

(1) The Secretary of State must appoint a person as the Domestic Abuse Commissioner (“the Commissioner”).

(2) The Commissioner is to hold and vacate office in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Commissioner’s appointment.

(3) The Commissioner is not to be regarded as the servant or agent of the Crown or as enjoying any status, immunity or privilege of the Crown.

S-5 Funding

5 Funding

(1) The Secretary of State may make payments to the Commissioner out of money provided by Parliament for the purpose of enabling the Commissioner to meet expenditure incurred in the exercise of the Commissioner’s functions.

(2) Payments are to be made at such times, and subject to any such conditions, as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.

(3) The Secretary of State may pay, or make provision for paying, to or in respect of the Commissioner—

(a)

(a) remuneration;

(b)

(b) allowances;

(c)

(c) sums by way of or in respect of pensions.

S-6 Staff etc

6 Staff etc

(1) The Secretary of State must provide the Commissioner with—

(a)

(a) such staff, and

(b)

(b) such accommodation, equipment and other facilities,

as the Secretary of State considers necessary for the carrying out of the Commissioner’s functions.

(2) Before providing any staff, the Secretary of State must—

(a)

(a) consult the Commissioner, and

(b)

(b) obtain the Commissioner’s approval as to the persons to be provided as staff.

(3) The Secretary of State must consult the Commissioner before providing any accommodation, equipment or other facilities.

Functions of Commissioner

Functions of Commissioner

S-7 General functions of Commissioner

7 General functions of Commissioner

(1) The Commissioner must encourage good practice in—

(a)

(a) the prevention of domestic abuse;

(b)

(b) the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of offences involving domestic abuse;

(c)

(c) the identification of—

(i) people who carry out domestic abuse;

(ii) victims of domestic abuse;

(iii) children affected by domestic abuse;

(d)

(d) the provision of protection and support to people affected by domestic abuse.

(2) The things that the Commissioner may do in pursuance of the general duty under subsection (1) include—

(a)

(a) assessing, monitoring, and publishing information about, the provision of services to people affected by domestic abuse;

(b)

(b) making recommendations to any public authority about the exercise of its functions;

(c)

(c) undertaking or supporting (financially or otherwise) the carrying out of research;

(d)

(d) providing information, education or training;

(e)

(e) taking other steps to increase public awareness of domestic abuse;

(f)

(f) consulting public authorities, voluntary organisations and other persons;

(g)

(g) co-operating with, or working jointly with, public authorities, voluntary organisations and other persons, whether in England and Wales or outside the United Kingdom.

(3) Subject to subsection (4), the Commissioner may not do anything in pursuance of the general duty under subsection (1) that—

(a)

(a) relates to a devolved Welsh authority, or

(b)

(b) otherwise relates to Welsh devolved matters.

(4) Subsection (3) does not prevent the Commissioner from—

(a)

(a) doing anything falling within subsection (2)(c), (d) or (e), to the extent that the thing done does not relate to Welsh devolved matters;

(b)

(b) doing anything falling within subsection (2)(f) or (g);

(c)

(c) disclosing information to a devolved Welsh authority, or information which relates to Welsh devolved matters, under section 18.

(5) For the purposes of this section something relates to Welsh devolved matters so far as it relates to—

(a)

(a) any matter provision about which would be within the legislative competence of Senedd Cymru if it were contained in an Act of Senedd Cymru, or

(b)

(b) (so far as it is not within paragraph (a)), any matter functions with respect to which are exercisable by the Welsh Ministers, the First Minister for Wales, the Counsel General to the Welsh Government or the Senedd Commission.

(6) In this section—

“devolved Welsh authority” has the meaning given by section 157A of the Government of Wales Act 2006;

“public authority” means any public authority within the meaning of section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998, other than a court or tribunal.

S-8 Reports

8 Reports

(1) The Commissioner may report to the Secretary of State on any matter relating to domestic abuse.

(2) The Commissioner must publish every report made under this section.

(3) Before publishing a report under this section, the Commissioner must send a draft of the report to the Secretary of State.

(4) The Secretary of State may direct the Commissioner to omit material from any report under this section before publication if the Secretary of State thinks the publication of that material—

(a)

(a) might jeopardise the safety...

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