Domestic Abuse Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:21 pm on 2nd October 2019.

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Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley 4:21 pm, 2nd October 2019

I want all victims to get the services that they need, but we have just been hearing on our Women and Equalities Committee about instances of male victims of domestic violence. We heard very moving accounts of that recently. We all want to ensure that they get the services that they require too. This is not about either/or. I want to see everyone who is a victim of domestic violence get the treatment and support that they need. I do not care whether that is a man or a woman, and nor should anyone in this House. We should want to provide those facilities and services for everyone—whether someone is in a majority or a minority category is irrelevant.

Having got that on the record, there is much in the Bill that I support and some things that I would like to be added to it. In the time available, I want to mention the two things that I would like to see added. In recent years, one of the things that I have been increasingly troubled by is the level of parental alienation, where one parent tries to turn the children against the other parent, using the child as a weapon in their dispute. That is a growing phenomenon, which I see in my surgeries and is well documented.

Clearly, in some cases, in particular when domestic violence is taking place, it is right for the parent to be removed from the whole family. I am a hard-liner on crime, as most people know, and I would have the courts treat perpetrators of domestic violence much more severely than they are at the moment. However, where there is no good reason for a parent to remove the other parent’s contact with the child, that parental alienation should in itself be seen as a form of domestic abuse. One thing that has come out in this debate, rightly, is that often the people who are the biggest victims of domestic abuse are the children. When a child is deliberately turned against the other parent for no good reason, that should be included in the definition of domestic abuse—[Interruption.] I am surprised that the SNP think that is a particular problem, but that is a matter for them to explain. They ought to meet some parents who suffer from parental alienation and then they might realise what a massive issue it is for them; often it leads to suicide. The SNP ought to think about those people.

When people make a false allegation of domestic abuse—which is also a very serious thing—the Government should consider that to be a form of domestic abuse as well in this legislation. That is one of the most terrible things that someone can be wrongly accused of.