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 Redfern Baroness Redfern Conservative 9:15 pm, 8th February 2021

My Lords, it is a privilege to follow the noble Lords and to listen to their powerful and compelling speeches. I am pleased to speak to Amendment 149. It is vital that post-separation abuse is recognised within this Domestic Abuse Bill, as the controlling and coercive behaviour offence only recognises victims who live with an abuser or who are in an intimate relationship with them. That cannot be right. Leaving a controlling relationship is very dangerous, as many survivors know. It is too easy to assume that once a victim has left their abuser, that abuse stops. In too many cases it is just the opposite and economic abuse is rarely used in isolation, as victims still suffer from other forms of abuse, which forces them to abide by their abusers with unreasonable demands placed on them. All the while, they desperately want to keep themselves and their children safe.

As one victim said, it is like an invisible chain: it goes on and on. That is because their abuser does not even have to know where their victim is. As a result, it puts them at an even greater risk of homicide during this period. The resulting outcome is that it prevents a victim from moving on with their lives. They feel that they can never be free. This new clause would ensure that those victims who were previously personally connected are protected from any coercive or controlling behaviour occurring post separation. This is a one-step opportunity within this Domestic Abuse Bill to change the law and save lives.