Amendment 149

Part of Domestic Abuse Bill - Committee (5th Day) – in the House of Lords at 9:15 pm on 8th February 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Butler-Sloss Baroness Butler-Sloss Chair, Ecclesiastical Committee (Joint Committee), Chair, Ecclesiastical Committee (Joint Committee) 9:15 pm, 8th February 2021

My Lords, I support Amendments 149 and 157. I am very well aware of the time and shall keep this short. Victims of domestic abuse who escape the perpetrator need protection in circumstances already set out so well by other speakers—and not exclusively, I have to say, in situations of economic abuse. However, to look at economic abuse, as a family judge financial dispute cases post-divorce came before me which undoubtedly came within the framework of economic abuse. They were very difficult to resolve because those who had perpetrated this economic abuse were usually very clever in managing to prevent adequate financial relief for the spouse. However, it is absurd to suggest that the CPS would be likely to prosecute these sorts of cases as issues of harassment. Possibly it would, but I would be astonished if it did or, indeed, if the police brought them to the attention of the CPS.

As I said, I also support Amendment 157. It is broader than has been suggested and, in my view, it includes teenagers who are being forced into marriage by family members who do not necessarily live under the same roof. An example would be uncles or brothers who have already left home, but they are as abusive and dangerous to the teenager being forced into marriage as those who live under the same roof.