Review of bail system to “better protect victims of domestic abuse”

The Government is planning to review pre-charge bail laws to better protect the victims of domestic abuse.

Announcing the move this week, Home Secretary Priti Patel said changes would ensure that the safety of victims is prioritised and police are supported in investigating offences.

Under current legislation, the length of pre-charge bail is limited to an initial 28 days with the option of an extension of up to three months providing authorisation is granted by a senior officer.

The rules at present are intended to prevent suspects being left under restrictive bail conditions for long periods of time without being charged.

However, there are concerns that perpetrators of domestic abuse are being allowed back into their victims’ lives to intimidate or terrorise them.

Commenting on the review, Ms Patel said: “I’m committed to giving the police the support they need to protect the public from harm – as well as supporting victims and witnesses.

“This review will ensure we put the needs of victims first and help the police investigate complex crimes whilst also continuing to make sure cases are able to be dealt with swiftly.”

The announcement comes after the Government committed to reintroducing a number of major legislative changes for victims of domestic abuse.

The Domestic Abuse Bill will set out several new laws, including amending the legal definition of domestic abuse to specifically include economic abuse and control and manipulative non-physical abuse for the first time.

It will also include a new Domestic Abuse Protection Notice and Domestic Abuse Protection Order and prohibit perpetrators of domestic and other forms of abuse from cross-examining their victims in person in the family courts.

For help and advice with any family law issue, please get in touch with our expert team.

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