By Annie Williams
Suspects of domestic abuse could be electronically tagged under a new draft bill proposed by the government.
Figures show that Merseyside police dealt with 4,622 offences of domestic violence between April 2016 and March 2017. Of these incidents, over 1000 of them were considered high risk.
The Proposed Domestic Abuse Protection Orders would allow police and the courts to interfere earlier where abuse is suspected.
The orders would enable courts to electronically monitor the suspects’ whereabouts before they have been found guilty of a crime.
Abusers could also be faced with a ban from drinking alcohol, using drugs and making contact with their victims under the new civil protection orders.
The new order would aim to bring together fundamentals from already existing protective orders, while giving courts the power to set a wider range of restrictions.
Explaining the move, Prime Minister Theresa May, writes: “Thousands of women endure unimaginable violence and other forms of abuse every single day, often at the hands of those to whom they are closest, in the places they should be safest. I have heard many heart-wrenching stories, and I am determined to stop others suffering.”
The PM adds that the proposals follow on from previous work she began in the Home Office: “I was fortunate enough to grow up in a warm and loving home. It is hard for those of us who have safe and happy lives to truly walk in the shoes of those who live with domestic abuse every single day. I want everyone to live free from that threat, and every child to grow up safe and protected, just as I did.”
As well as the official government response, there is a new Twitter appeal to identify domestic abusers. Launched this week by Twitter user Daisy Hutchinson, she is calling for domestic abusers to sign a register, similar to that of sex offenders.
Speaking to MerseyDays about why she created the petition, Daisy Hutchinson said: “I was a victim of domestic abuse myself, so I wanted to do something positive that could possibly help other women and men in the process.
“In regards to tagging abusers, I think it will benefit victims who have left their abusers.
“There needs to be more encouragement and support to leave, having the tag in place would have reassured me back then. I had a panic alarm installed by the police, but if he would have had the tag, I wouldn’t have felt the need for that.”
The petition requires 10,000 signatures before being considered for debate in Parliament.
The draft Domestic Abuse Bill will also propose tougher sentences where children are involved and more support for victims who testify in court.
The consultation period for the draft bill will run until 31 May.
If you have been affected by domestic abuse, you can contact the following charities who can provide you help and support:
National Domestic Violence helpline
0808 2000 247 – 24/7 phone line
Protecting Vulnerable Persons Unit
0151 777 4027
Worst Kept Secret
0800 028 3398