The 10 minute Rule Bill which makes Domestic Violence (DV) a criminal offence came back from consideration by the Commons clerks who have been working it up over the last month or so.
The Bill which was redrafted six times by Harry Fletcher with the help of lawyer and victims was introduced in late February by Elfyn Llwyd MP with all party support. The Bill has been condensed and now is tighter and much more focused. The first draft was produced by Paladin and Harry Fletcher.
It creates an offence of Domestic Violence with a maximum term of imprisonment of 14 years, gives the Home Secretary powers to set out matters which must be taken into account when deciding whether to send a case to the Crown Court, allows for non disclosure of a victims address if that would put them at risk and gives the right to a court to order the abuser to attend a treatment programme.
The redrafted measure also places duties on the Police to compile policies, standards and enforce training. This includes prioritising cases of DV as serious criminal offences. Powers are also given to Ministers to provide training to all in the Criminal Justice System within one year of the Act coming into force.
If the law did come in it would extend to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Bill will be sent to all Parties over the next few weeks and has already been the subject of discussions in Downing Street and the Cabinet Office.
The Queens Speech which outlines Bill's for the 2014/15 parliament will be made on Wednesday June 4th. There may be an Organised Crime Bill and another which strengthens Child Neglect Laws in particular a new offence of emotional cruelty.
The DV Bill's supporters will explore the possibility of tabling amendments to these measures Early Day Motion 917 which supports the Bill will fall when the current Parliament draws to a close on May 14th, a little earlier than expected.
Nevertheless 92 MPs from all Parties signed the Motion. It was therefore amongst the top 30 out of over 1300 tabled. It just exceeded support for the Stalking EDM in 2011 which had 84 names and that issue went on to become Law!