A legal loophole, which allows parents co-accused of their
child’s murder to escape punishment by remaining silent or
blaming each other, will be closed under measures announced in the
Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Bill, writes Clare
The bill, published by the Home Office, creates a new offence of
‘familial homicide’ for causing or allowing the death of a child or
Other measures in the bill, which the government said is the
biggest overhaul of law in this area for 30 years, include making
common assault an arrestable offence. Police wil be given
significant new powers to deal with domestic violence, including
making it a criminal offence to breach a non-molestation order.
Civil law on domestic violence will be strengthened to give
co-habiting same-sex couples the same protection as heterosexual
The government also proposes to give victims stronger legal
protection by extending the use of restraining orders, and by
setting up an independent commissioner for victims to promote the
interests of victims and witnesses.
At the same time, the Home Office announced that a register of
civil orders will be created to allow police to check for
outstanding orders against an alleged offender. More than £6
million over three years has been allocated to help national and
local projects tackle domestic abuse, and a 24-hour domestic
violence helpline will be launched before Christmas.