Responding to Conservative plans on domestic violence and abuse including proposals to appoint a Domestic Violence Commissioner, Liberal Democrat Election Campaign Spokesperson, Jo Swinson said:
“Domestic violence and abuse is a horrific stain on our society and still all too often a hidden crime. Everything that can be done must be done to eradicate it once and for all. But let us be clear actions speak louder than words and Conservative cuts to local authorities have meant that funding for domestic abuse services have suffered, with some services having to refuse referrals from victims due to a lack of capacity.
Victims need more than just platitudes and unless the Conservatives are willing to invest the resources needed then nothing will change.
The Liberal Democrats would support victims of domestic violence and abuse and help them secure justice by reviewing the investigation, prosecution, procedures and rules of evidence in cases of sexual and domestic violence and guarantee funding for legal aid in domestic violence cases.”
The Liberal Democrats Manifesto pledges to:
- Review the investigation, prosecution, procedures and rules of evidence in cases of sexual and domestic violence
- Conduct an urgent and comprehensive review of the effects of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act on access to justice, particularly funding for social welfare appeals, and domestic violence and exceptional cases
In Coalition the Liberal Democrats:
- Introduced a change in the definition of domestic violence and abuse widening it to include young people aged 16 to 17 who exhibited coercive control – a pattern of controlling behaviour.
- Piloted and subsequently rolled out ‘Clare’s law’ – formally known as the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, allowing an individual to ask the police to check whether a new or existing partner has a violent past (‘right to ask’).