(Title Image: Wales Audit Office, Crown Copyright)
Deputy Minister & Chief Whip, Jane Hutt (Lab, Vale of Glamorgan), has recommended that the UK Government’s Domestic Violence Bill should be extended to cover Wales.
The Senedd passed the Domestic Violence Act in 2015 which placed a statutory duty on public authorities to prepare strategies to address gender-based violence and domestic abuse, as well as establishing the post of national adviser.
A Legislative Consent Motion (pdf) seeks to extend the UK’s Domestic Violence Bill to include Wales. Amongst the specific measures, the Bill will:
- Include children who witness domestic abuse in the definition of a “victim” of domestic abuse.
- Removes a “rough sex” criminal defence for injuries or deaths caused by harm for sexual gratification – even when consent is given.
- Fulfils the UK Government’s obligations under the Istanbul Convention so that UK nationals and residents who commit acts of domestic abuse, stalking or specific sexual offences overseas can be prosecuted as if they had committed it at home.
The only point of contention is over a general power for UK Ministers to issue guidance in areas otherwise devolved to Wales; the Welsh Government says they will seek amendments to ensure the devolution settlement is respected.