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Domestic Abuse Bill - Empower team

Domestic Abuse Bill a positive move forward

Oasis Community Housing has joined the many voices welcoming the news that legislation around domestic and intimate abuse is being strengthened to include more severe sentences for non-fatal strangulation, greater capacity to prosecute for coercive and controlling acts with non co-habiting partners and laws to target so called ‘revenge porn’.

Lynne Livsey who manages the charity’s Empower Team said of the new Bill.

“We are delighted to see additional protections included in the Bill and we would like to thank everyone who has lobbied and campaigned for these important changes.”

Non fatal strangulation had previously been classed as common assault with perpetrators receiving a short or no sentence at all, but the new bill will provide appropriate route to recourse for survivors and up to seven years judicial sentence.

The new Bill will also criminalise threats to share intimate images with perpetrators receiving up two years jail term. With cases rising by 73% in recent years, according to The Independent in January 2021, this legislation has been sorely needed. Holly from our Empower team added:

“Many of those we support endure coercive and intimidating behaviour once their relationship has ended. Threats to share intimate images can leave women humiliated, scared and bound to their abusive ex-partner.

“We are therefore delighted that in the Domestic Abuse Bill, the government are committed to include those no longer living together in their definition of controlling and coercive control, as well as making it a criminal offence to threaten to share intimate images. This legislation enables practical action to be taken by survivors of abuse and the Police.

“These are great steps forward in protecting and empowering women to regain control of their lives without fear from abusive ex-partners post separation, and ultimately important steps towards ending domestic abuse.”

Oasis Community Housing’s Empower project has supported approximately 70 women since September 2020 and are seeing recent increases in referrals for support. The charity commonly works with women who are no longer in their abusive relationships, but abuse does not always end when the relationships do.

The Empower Team run groups and 1-1 sessions to help women move forward and find hope. They work with medium risk women in Gateshead and can be reached on 0191 477 3535, ask to speak to Empower.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse national support can be found though the National Domestic Abuse line 0808 200 0247.