Reopen parliament so it can debate domestic violence law before more people die

A 30% jump in domestic violence-related homicides shows parliament must be allowed to legislate to protect victims argues Tammy Palmer, Haringey councillor and Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Tottenham.

On Friday, BBC news reported that: “Last year, 173 people were killed in domestic violence-related homicides, according to data obtained by the BBC from 43 police forces across the UK - an increase of 32 deaths on 2017.”

Cllr Palmer is backing calls by charities and women’s rights organisations for the Government to ensure parliamentary time is urgently allocated to the Domestic Abuse Bill.

Amongst the measures contained in the draft legislation were:

  • A requirement for Councils to ensure that those fleeing abusive relationships and their children have access to secure housing
  • Creating new court orders to allow authorities to step in earlier and prevent offending escalating
  • Preventing accused abusers cross-examining their alleged victims during trials

It was first presented to Parliament in July. However, its progress towards the statue books was reversed when the Government suspended Parliament last week. The Bill cannot be debated further until parliament is recalled.

Cllr Palmer argues the delay is of particular concern to residents of Haringey. The police have recorded over 3,000 incidents of domestic and sexual violence within the borough over the last year. That number is significantly higher (relative to population) than the London average.

Cllr Palmer said that:

“It is critical that this Bill is not delayed any further. These new statistics suggest that in the 5 weeks Parliament is suspended, 7 people in England and Wales will likely be murdered by their partners. That’s unacceptable. This Bill needs to be heard now to ensure that survivors and those at risk both here in Haringey and across the country get the vital protection and support that they need.

“Last week Boris Johnson tweeted that ‘domestic abuse shatters lives and tears families apart.’ If he wants to do something about that, he needs to recall Parliament and allow them to debate this Bill."

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