Research briefings – Page last updated 27th May 2012

Research briefings are produced by the Libraries of the House of Commons and House of Lords and the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST).

  • Labour policy on Domestic Violence – 1999-2010 Published 22 May 2012 | Standard notes SN03989 The Labour Government introduced a number of reforms to the legal remedies for victims of domestic violence, and introduced a number of non-legislative measures. This note examines the development of Labour policy in this area. Topic: Crimes of violence
  • Domestic violence Published 22 May 2012 | Standard notes SN06337 Domestic violence accounts for 18% of all violent incidents. Nearly one third of women and nearly one fifth of men say they have experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16. This standard note looks at the Goverment’s policy on this area. Topic: Civil law, Crime, Crimes of violence, Criminal law

Domestic Violence legislation


Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Bill 2010-11

Crime and Security Act 2010  (s.24-s.33) – Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004

Family Law Act 1996  (Part IV  Family Homes and Domestic Violence)


Domestic Violence

Here you will find information on the Government’s work on proposals for tougher legislation to protect the victims of domestic violence and increase support for victims.

Implementation of police/family information sharing protocol

An information-sharing pilot between the police and family courts started on 1 December 2004 and ended in August 2005. The pilot took place in five areas: London, Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire and Cumbria. Following the positive evaluation of the pilot the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) asked all police areas to implement the protocol from April 2006. The evaluation report is now available.



The protocols have been revised slightly to provide up-to-date contacts for each of the former pilot areas. Protocols are available to download. There is one version for the Metropolitan Police Service and another for the Northern Circuit (out of London) areas. Further information on the pilot is available in the explanatory memorandum.


Standard forms

The standard request form for practitioners to request information from the police (Annex B of the protocol) is available in word format. You can download it, fill it in and send it to your police information officer / chief officer. The standard police reply form for police to respond to practitioners is also available in word format to download.


Domestic Violence – a guide to civil remedies and criminal sanctions

The Department published “Domestic Violence – a guide to civil remedies and criminal sanctions” in February 2003. This guide aims to assist professionals and service providers to advise victims on their options for effective protection for them and their families – especially their children.


Other projects and initiatives

You may wish to be aware of some of the work the Department has already undertaken in this important area:

  • Set up a Domestic Violence Advisory Group of police, lawyers, judges, social workers and other agencies to ensure a joined-up approach to tackling domestic violence;
  • Changed the law so that the Adoption and Children Act now makes clear that when a court is considering whether a child has suffered, or is likely to suffer harm, it must consider harm that a child may suffer not just from domestic violence, but from witnessing it;
  • The Government has established a Ministerial group to co-ordinate action on domestic violence across Whitehall. A consultation paper Safety and Justice, published in June 2003, led to the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Bill. The Government expects to seek Royal Assent during this parliamentary year.

Measures that impact directly on the department for constitutional affairs include:-

  • Making breach of a non-molestation order a criminal offence. Breach will be punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment on indictment.
  • Giving cohabiting same-sex couples the same access to non-molestation and occupation orders as heterosexual couples and making couples who have never cohabited or been married eligible for non-molestation and occupation orders;Making common assault an arrestable offence by adding it to the list of offences for which a police officer may arrest without a warrant.Enabling courts to impose restraining orders when sentencing for any offence.Giving any person mentioned in a restraining order a right to make representations in court if an application is made to vary or terminate the order.


Other information

»Part IV of the Family Law Act 1996 provides for a single set of civil remedies to deal with domestic violence and to regulate occupation of the family home, through two specific types of order: the occupation order and the non-molestation order.

Report to the Lord Chancellor by the Children Act subcommittee of the advisory board on family law on the question of parental contact in cases where there is domestic violence April 2002 (99pages) hyperlink to the report is:


Useful links

[First – please read this disclaimer]

  • The Home Office –  In July 1999 the Home Office assumed the policy lead on Violence against Women, which had previously been dealt with by the Women’s Unit, based at Cabinet Office. The Document Living without Fear – An Integrated Approach to Tackling Violence against Women was published jointly by the Women’s Unit and the Home Office in June 1999. This sets out the current programme of work underway across government to tackle violence against women, and includes a range of examples of current practice intended to support organisations.
  • Department for Communities and Local Gorenment- The provision of accommodation and support for households experiencing domestic violence in England (Housing Report 2002)” which looked into the kinds of accommodation and support available to women experiencing domestic violence, or of the contribution of women’s refuges and other accommodation and support provided by local refuge groups in England
  • Domestic Violence Intervention ProjectDVIP is a groundbreaking voluntary sector project and registered charity which was set up in 1991. DVIP’s main aim is to increase the safety of women and children who experience domestic violence by providing a range of diverse services challenging men, supporting women, working in partnership, influencing policy and campaigning for change.
  • Legal Services Commission
  • Her Majesty’s Court Service
  • Crown Prosecution Service
  • Violence Research Programme – The overall aim of the Violence Research Programme (VRP) is to expand and enhance understanding of the various forms of violence to the person in order to increase our knowledge about their causes and how they might be prevented, reduced or eliminated.
  • Women’s Aid website – Information for those experiencing domestic violence– Women’s Aid Federation of England (Women’s Aid) is the national charity working to end domestic violence against women and children. Our mission is to advocate for abused women and children and to ensure their safety by working locally and nationally to:
    • Offer support and a place of safety to abused women and children by providing refuges and other services
    • Empower women affected by domestic violence to determine their own lives
    • Recognise and meet the needs of children affected by domestic violence
    • Promote policies and practices to prevent domestic violence
    • Raise awareness of the extent and impact of domestic violence in society
  • Victim Support
  • Zero Tolerance Trust
  • BBC Hitting Home campaign – This site has information, help and support for anyone affected by domestic violence.
  • Every Child MattersEvery Child Matters sets out for consultation a framework for improving outcomes for all children and their families, to protect them, to promote their wellbeing and to support all children to develop their full potential. It was published alongside Keeping Children Safe, a detailed response to the practice recommendations made by Lord Laming in the report following his inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbié. It focuses on four main areas:
    • Early intervention and effective protection
    • Supporting parents and carers
    • Accountability and integration – locally, regionally and nationally
    • Workforce reform
  • Children and Domestic Violence in Rural AreasThe Countryside Agency commissioned Save the Children to explore the nature and extent of domestic violence support provision for children and young people living in rural areas in England in 2002. This research identifies examples of good practice and highlights implications for policy, practice and improvements in the provision of domestic violence services. As well the full report, there are also PDF’s of the Executive Summary and 4 issue sheets covering: Education Provision; Welfare Services; Health Provision and Housing Provision.



» Guidelines for Good Practice on Parental Contact in cases where there is Domestic Violence (2002)

» Evaluation of Specialist Domestic Violence Courts/Fast Track Systems (March 2004)

Hard Copies available by e-mailing Jan Salihi

» Speech by Lord Falconer Domestic Violence: new initiatives in the Criminal Justice System (March 2004)

Home Office Research Study 276
Domestic violence, sexual assault
and stalking: Findings from the
British Crime Survey (March 2004)

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