The Liberal Democrats have hailed as “historic” the Domestic Abuse Bill, which is due to be passed by the House of Commons today [Monday 6th July], while also securing cross-party support for amendments to protect migrant survivors of abuse.
Christine Jardine, the party’s Home Affairs Spokesperson who sat on the Public Bill Committee last month, praised the cross-party pressure that has finally brought the legislation to this point and forced the Government to include children as victims in the new statutory definition of domestic abuse.
Jardine also vowed to continue the Liberal Democrats’ efforts to improve the Bill further. The party has tabled two amendments to protect migrant women who experience domestic abuse: one to grant them leave to remain in the UK and the other to prevent their personal data being shared with the Home Office for immigration enforcement.
Both amendments are backed by cross-party MPs, including Labour’s Harriet Harman, Stella Creasy and Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts, the Greens’ Caroline Lucas and Alliance’s Stephen Farry. The data-sharing amendment is also co-sponsored by Conservative MP Richard Fuller.
Ahead of the debate in the House of Commons, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:
“More than two million people experience domestic abuse every year. Survivors desperately need the new legal protections and support that this Domestic Abuse Bill will bring.
“The Conservative Government has been far too slow bringing this legislation forward since they first promised it more than three years ago.
“I’m relieved that our cross-party pressure has paid off and the House of Commons will finally have the chance to pass this long-awaited and historic legislation today. I’m also delighted that we have succeeded in ensuring that the Bill properly recognises children as victims of domestic abuse.
“The Liberal Democrats are continuing to work to improve the Bill, with amendments to add specific protections for migrant women, so that fears over their immigration status do not prevent them from coming forward to report violence or abuse. We must ensure that the Bill protects all survivors of domestic abuse, no matter where they were born.”