Domestic Abuse Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:14 pm on 2nd October 2019.

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Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice 1:14 pm, 2nd October 2019

My right hon. and learned Friend speaks with immense experience. He is absolutely right about what we call the section 28 roll-out, which proved in the pilot to be a really successful scheme whereby victims of sexual abuse—child victims—are both examined in chief and cross-examined on video. It is an immensely sensible use of resources. It saves time for the victims. It is all done much more quickly and, as he said, it often leads to a much more sensible resolution in terms of the admission of guilt.

I am very interested in taking that concept further. That does require discussions about resource, and requires me to consult fully with the Lord Chief Justice and the judiciary, as I am constitutionally obliged to do, on its impact. I will obviously have further discussions on that matter and I will discuss it with him and other hon. and right hon. Members who have both a knowledge of and a commitment to this important issue.

Finally, Mr Deputy Speaker—[Interruption.] Well, I will go on if Members want. I could talk all day about this topic—[Interruption.] Oh, forgive me, Mr Speaker, I demoted you.

Stella Creasy mentioned the Istanbul convention and made a very proper point about the need to fill the gaps, which is why it is important not only to emphasise what the Bill is already doing but to remind ourselves what the convention requires us to do. We have to criminalise psychological violence and to take extraterritorial jurisdiction over that and certain other violent and sexual offences. This Bill, of course, gives effect to that.