Pressure tells as Government agrees changes to Domestic Abuse Bill on intimate image threats

After tens of thousands of supporters contacted the Government in support of a change to the Domestic Abuse Bill, to outlaw threats to share intimate images, the Conservatives have agreed that it should form part of the forthcoming Domestic Abuse Bill. 

Local Liberal Democrat Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani, who was one of many to write to the Home Office calling for the legislation, was delighted to hear of the change. He said: “We need to change the UK’s culture around domestic abuse. This is another step in breaking down the taboos and attitudes which have let this situation fester for so long.”

The lockdown has focused attention on domestic abuse, with rates dramatically increasing, but even before the start of lockdown, it was already endemic. According to Government figures, in the year before lockdown, 2.3 million people suffered from domestic abuse. That’s one in every 30 people, suffering from violence in their own home, every year. 

Sam continued: “It is shocking that so many people are suffering in silence. Just on those figures, it is likely that someone in your street has been abused in the last year.

“It is all too easy to look for stereotypes when it comes to domestic abuse. One of the hardest things about it is that there is no one type of victim, and no one type of abuser. It could happen to anyone. 

“It is incredibly difficult to escape from an abusive relationship, and changing the law to protect women – for it is almost always women who are on the end of these threats – from this type of behaviour is an important step.”

Other changes are still vitally needed. Oldham Liberal Democrats have written to the Home Secretary to ask for the Rail to Refuge scheme, which gives free rail tickets to women seeking to escape abuse to be made permanent, and are campaigning to ensure that public sexual harassment is made a criminal offence.

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