A HAMPSHIRE group that helps people impacted by domestic violence has praised new legislation.

The Domestic Abuse Act is a welcome step in the right direction in cracking down on violence and abuse at home, according to local charity, Yellow Door.

The law is said to protects millions of people who experience domestic abuse and strengthens measures to tackle perpetrators.

New measures were added to the bill to fight controlling or coercive behaviour, target revenge porn and end the "rough sex defence" involving death or serious injury.  

Furthermore, the definition of domestic abuse has been expanded beyond physical violence to include emotional, coercive or controlling behaviour and economic abuse.  

Other measures include recognising children as victims if they see, hear or experience the effects of  abuse.

And, placing a duty on local authorities in England to provide support to victims of domestic abuse and their children in refuges and other safe accommodation.

Commenting on the bill, CEO of Yellow Door, Nicci King said: "At Yellow Door, we believe the Domestic Abuse Act is a welcome step in the right direction in identifying and supporting those affected by domestic abuse. We are working closely with the Local Authority, Hampshire Constabulary and wider partners to implement the Act and ensure more victims of domestic abuse can access support in a timely way. The Domestic Abuse Act makes it clear that violence in a domestic setting is not acceptable and children are now identified as victims. We all acknowledge that more works needs to take place to support our diverse and yet to reach communities and through our Diversity & Inclusion Service we are reaching out to communities who would not normally access our services. We are keen to ensure that more investment is directed into prevention work, at Yellow Door we deliver the STAR Project, which is an award-winning education project which helps young people have conversations about healthy relationships which helps to prevent domestic and sexual abuse. "

Yellow Door supports people across Southampton and Western Hampshire who have been impacted by sexual and domestic abuse.

Chief Executive of Women’s Aid Federation of England, Farah Nazeer, added: 

The Domestic Abuse Bill has been long-awaited, and could not be more needed, following the impact of the pandemic on survivors and our national network of domestic abuse services. 

Thanks to the bravery of survivors in campaigning for change, we now have an act that will strengthen protection in the family courts, improve housing law in cases of domestic abuse, and require councils to fund support in safe accommodation.  

We continue to urge for the law to address the significant gaps it leaves and protect every survivor, ensuring that all women and children can access support regardless of immigration status, and for us to see guaranteed long-term funding for specialist women’s domestic abuse services, including refuge services around the country that are saving lives every day.

The Domestic Abuse Bill has passed both Houses of Parliament and was signed into law at the end of April.