The Domestic Abuse Bill was introduced into the House of Commons with the intention of creating stronger provisions for challenging domestic violence and abuse in England and Wales. It would fulfill the UK’s international obligations to combat violence against women and domestic violence as a signatory of the Istanbul Convention. With the announcement of the election the Bill fell and will have to be reintroduced in the next sitting Parliament. However, the Bill has cross party support and will likely pass through the new Parliament quickly. Northern Ireland was originally left out of the Bill entirely but, in the absence of a sitting Assembly at Stormont, it was announced that NI would be included under Part 2 of the Bill relating to coercive control.

Northern Ireland is currently the only region of the UK without coercive control provisions and as such Women’s Aid welcome our inclusion under Part 2 of the Bill. However, there are protections within the rest of the Bill that will not apply to NI. We believe that women experiencing domestic violence and abuse should have equal protections across the UK, their geographic location should not impact on their recourse to justice.

For further information on how Northern Ireland has been excluded from certain provisions within the Bill we have included a link to our briefing paper below.

Domestic Abuse Bill – Two Page Briefing Paper 2019

Therefore, we ask that all political parties in Northern Ireland educate themselves on what the Domestic Abuse Bill is and what it could mean for victims and survivors to have parity with England and Wales. We call on parties here to fight for Northern Ireland’s full inclusion in the Bill when they take their seats in the next Parliament. And we call on you to ask your elected representatives what they are doing to ensure Northern Ireland’s full inclusion in the Bill.

We are asking for parity, fairness and equality with the rest of the UK.