House of Lords vote to criminalise domestic abuse by carers

Wed,10 March 2021
News Equality & Rights

Following an amazing debate initiated by Baroness Jane Campbell, the House of Lords voted in favour of bringing domestic abuse by carers into the Scope of the Domestic Abuse Bill. The vote was 318 in favour and 234 against. Unfortunately, the Government continues to oppose amending the Bill.

Baroness Jane Campbell put forward a strong case for carers to be covered by the Domestic Abuse Bill, given their close personal connection with individual disabled people and their position of power. Baroness Campbell made a compelling case for the right of disabled people to be protected from abuse in our own homes, in the same way as others. Baroness Campbell shared legal advice, which showed that excluding carers from the Bill would be discriminatory.

Lord Shinkwin urged the House of Lords to remember that anyone could experience disability and that everyone would benefit from this protection being available.

The government refused to change its position saying that abuse against disabled people was covered by other legislation, missing the point that we need equality of treatment under every piece of legislation.

There was overwhelming support for the amendments with the vote being 318 in favour and 234 against.  

Disability campaigners led by Stay Safe East, have worked over the past year to make the case that the Domestic Abuse Bill should give full and equal rights to disabled people. Disabled women are 3 times more likely to experience domestic abuse. Campaigners have called for the so called “carers defence” to be removed, as this allows a perpetrator to claim that their abuse is in the “best interests” of the disabled  person. Calls for improvements in the benefits system, to support disabled women fleeing violence, have also been made.

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