Domestic Abuse survivors housing

Starting later in 2021, councils will have a duty to ensure survivors of domestic abuse and their children can access support in safe accommodation. £125 million Government funding will be provided, and the measures form part of the Domestic Abuse Bill. (See Gov.uk press release for more details.)

Better protection for witnesses and victims

New laws to reform pre-charge bail will provide better protection for victims and witnesses in cases of violent and sexual offences.

The new measures will ensure a system where individuals are not held on bail for unreasonable lengths of time, whilst enabling police to impose strict conditions on more suspects in high-harm cases, including most cases of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

The full package of reforms will be named ‘Kay’s Law’ in memory of Kay Richardson, who was murdered by her ex-partner following his release under investigation, despite evidence of previous domestic abuse.

The measures will be brought before Parliament in a major criminal justice bill, which will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allows. (See Gov.uk press release for more details.)

DBS and Brexit employment changes

New DBS filtering rules were rushed through parliament late in November 2020 now mean, in certain cases, that a Basic DBS check will show more information about youth cautions, convictions etc. than an Enhanced DBS. Additionally there are also post Brexit arrangements to consider when appointing new personnel in 2021.

Call for Evidence – Gambling Laws

The Culture Secretary has launched a major and wide-ranging review of gambling laws to ensure they are fit for the digital age as committed to in the manifesto. (see Gov.uk press release) Suggestions include:

  • National Lottery minimum age raised to 18 to protect young people (from Oct 2021)
  • Online stake limits, gambling advertising and age limits to be considered
  • Gambling Commission’s role and powers will also be looked at

If you wish to participate in the Call for Evidence, the deadline is 31 March, and the details are here.

Call for Evidence – Human Rights Act

The Independent Human Rights Act review has launched a public call for evidence, which will consider how the Human Rights Act is working in practice and whether any change is needed. Specifically, the review will look at two key themes, which are outlined in the Terms of Reference as follows:

  • the relationship between domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)
  • the impact of the HRA on the relationship between the judiciary, the executive and the legislature

If you want to take part, the information is here, and the deadline is 3 March.