LONDON: Violent husbands or partners faced being electronically tagged under new measures announced in Britain Thursday to tackle domestic abuse.
Prime Minister Theresa May, Interior Minister Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Justice Secretary David Gauke put forward proposals for a new domestic abuse bill to transform the government approach to what they described as a terrible crime currently affecting 2 million people across the country.
The tough new approach includes protection orders to better shield victims against further abuse by enabling courts to impose a range of conditions on abusers.
These could include compulsory alcohol treatment, attending a program to address their underlying attitudes or addictions, and using electronic tagging to monitor them.
Under the proposals, breaching any court order would become a criminal offence.
The proposals will also see economic abuse recognised for the first time as a type of domestic abuse. It will cover controlling circumstances in which victims have finances withheld or are denied access to employment or transport.
Prime Minister May said: “While we have made great strides towards equality and opportunities for women, the fact there are still thousands of people suffering from domestic abuse shows how much work we still have to do.”
May said the new proposals will have the potential to completely transform the way Britain tackles domestic abuse, providing better protection to victims and bringing more perpetrators to justice.
May added: “I hope as many people as possible will come forward to give us their views and share their experiences, as we seek to put an end to this abhorrent crime for good.”
Home Secretary Rudd said: “It is appalling that in 21st century Britain, nearly 2 million people every year, the majority of them women, suffer abuse at the hands of those closest to them.”
Rudd said he wants a fundamental change through the bill. “This is a once in a generation opportunity to transform our entire approach to this terrible crime.”
Justice Secretary Gauke said: “By proposing to give courts greater powers, from a new protection order to tougher sentences, we are sending a clear message that domestic abuse in any form will not be tolerated.”
Studies have shown that adults who as a child witnessed domestic abuse are far more likely to experience abuse by a partner as an adult.
The government has announced a fund of more than 11 million US dollars to support children who witness domestic abuse, and help with their recovery through locally commissioned projects.