Adding to the Domestic Abuse Criminal Law Framework: The Domestic Abuse Act 2021

Vanessa Bettinson*

*Corresponding author for this work

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*Crim. L.R. 88 The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 finally received royal assent almost four years after the announcement of the Bill in the Queen’s Speech in 2017. This article examines the new provisions relating to criminal law and justice introduced by the Act and the evolution of the Domestic Abuse Bill following its prolonged journey through the Parliamentary process. It will explore the introduction of the new criminal offences: breach of a domestic abuse protection order and threatening to disclose a private sexual photo or film. It considers the extension of mandatory use of special measures for domestic abuse victims, a statutory statement on the limitation of the so-called rough sex defence and amendments to the offence of coercive and controlling behaviour. Background regarding the consultation process and the decision to produce a "once-in-a-generation" chance to provide legislative transformation to domestic abuse is provided. Analysis of these new provisions includes an assessment of where issues concerning implementation may arise. Reform is to be welcomed as greater recognition is given to the public’s increasing intolerance towards domestic violence and abuse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-110
Number of pages19
JournalCriminal Law Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

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