MP’s Bill calls for changes to domestic violence legislation

An MP has argued in favour of changing the law so that police actively warn people if their new partner has a history of repeated domestic violence offences.

Liz Saville Roberts believes that a register should be set up for those who have been convicted, which would include an offender’s name, address, date of birth and National Insurance (NI) number.

Forces would then be handed statutory powers, enabling them to warn those entering into a relationship with anyone on the register about the person’s previous offences.

This would of course require the perpetrator to notify officers when they found a new partner, with the threat of a custodial sentence for those who failed to do so.

The Private Members’ Bill – which has been drawn up with input from the Victim Rights Campaign – would go further than current legislation, which enables police to disclose details of a violent past but only if a partner approaches officers and requests the information.

Ms Saville Roberts believes that this arrangement, often referred to as Clare’s Law, does not go far enough.

“Domestic violence and coercive control are very serious crimes that too often leave victims inadequately protected,” said the MP, who represents the constituency of Dwyfor Meirionnydd.

“Campaigners and charities are telling us that there are hundreds, if not thousands of men with multiple domestic violence victims but currently the onus is on new partners to ask the police for details about their prospective partner’s history, and unsurprisingly, this is rarely done.

“My Bill will create a register with specific extra conditions for perpetrators with more than one victim. Offenders will have to report and be monitored by the police and victims will have the right to access details of any previous violent or controlling behaviour.”

While the likelihood of the Bill completing its passage through Parliament is fairly slight, Ms Saville-Roberts said that she hopes that the Government could be persuaded to include similar proposals in its own forthcoming review of domestic violence legislation.

Peter Martin,  Family Partner at OGR Stock Denton said: “A worthy idea, but the prospect of a person who has been convicted of a domestic violence offence reporting that they are in a new relationship must be very slim.”

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