Abusers may face lie detector tests under new bill

High-risk domestic abusers could face mandatory lie detector tests when released from prison under a new Bill being introduced in Parliament.

Jul 17, 2019
By Tony Thompson
DCC Louisa Rolfe

The Domestic Abuse Bill will include the first ever government definition of domestic abuse, establish a Domestic Abuse Commissioner and introduce new domestic abuse protection orders.

A new civil order will allow courts to impose a range of restrictions, including banning individuals from contacting victims while the police investigate.

The Domestic Abuse Bill includes the power to make those given domestic abuse protection orders attend rehabilitation programmes when substance abuse was a factor, or other behaviour change schemes. It will also give victims automatic eligibility for special measures in criminal courts, such as giving evidence behind screens.

And abusers may have to agree to regular polygraph testing as one of the conditions put in their release licence from jail.

An estimated 1.2 million women and 713,000 men were victims of domestic abuse in the year to the end of March 2017, according to the Office for National Statistics.

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for domestic abuse, Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe, said: “Police have improved our response to domestic abuse across the country despite resource pressure and increasing demand. In the year ending March 2018, police attended more than one million incidents of domestic abuse and investigated almost 600,000 offences, yet we know many victims will still not come forward.

“Our job is to protect people and bring offenders to justice, but without effective support for victims and their families I am all too aware that some are left with a poor experience when they report abuse.

“We must work with others in education, probation, health, social care and housing to ensure support is joined up and intervention is effective. This Bill provides a key opportunity to achieve this.”

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