The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 creates, for the first time, a cross-government statutory definition of domestic abuse, to ensure that domestic abuse is properly understood, considered unacceptable, and actively challenged across statutory agencies and in public attitudes.

In a news post, published by the CPS on 5th December 2022 some important updates were shared relating to guidance around new Domestic Abuse Legislation, which now means that “Children affected by domestic abuse will be automatically treated as victims regardless of whether they were present during violent incidents”.

At the National Association of Child Contact Centres, we believe that everyone should be able to live safe from the fear of abuse and recognise the long-term and damaging impact that it can have when experienced during childhood. As a child-centered organisation, we will also support changes that place an emphasis on the lived experiences of children and young people as well as taking their wishes and feelings into account, when planning or delivering services.

The new guidance “specifically asks prosecutors to consider the impact domestic abuse has on young people when making a charging decision. This includes speaking to schools or Child Services to support evidence of long-standing abuse”.

In this refreshed guidance the following sections have been updated:

  1. A new section on assumptions and misconceptions: The guidance sought to knock down damaging misconceptions about the characteristics of a ‘typical’ domestic abuse victim. Fresh insights following responses from experts and support groups have been reflected in this section of the legal guidance.
  2. Taking a suspect-centric approach: Prosecutors and police are advised when building the strongest possible case to consider the context of the incidents by looking at the behaviour of the suspect before, during, and after. This scrutiny will help to establish the emergence of potential patterns of abuse and ensure all lines of enquiry are explored.
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