Violence against women and children is blighting our society. Two
women die every week as a result of domestic violence and it
accounts for a quarter of all violent crime. Vulnerable men, women
and children suffer at the hands of the perpetrators behind closed
It is for these reasons that the government’s move to strengthen
laws on protecting victims in a new domestic violence bill is very
The new measures, including powers for courts to issue restraining
orders even when an “offender” is acquitted, making common assault
an arrestable offence and imposing a penalty of up to five years
for breach of a non-molestation order, are all excellent. Closing a
loophole whereby two people can remain silent or blame each other
for killing a child or vulnerable adult, is also a crucial step.
The new offence of “familial homicide” will prevent obvious
injustices such as the foster parents of four-year-old John Smith
only receiving convictions for cruelty, even though he died from a
massive blow to the head with bite marks on his body.