The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004
made significant changes to the way in which instances of domestic violence are dealt with by the courts, together with measures to improve the treatment of victims and witnesses of domestic crime.
The Act made many changes to the existing legal framework, including:
- breaches of a non-molestation order became a criminal offence and same-sex couples are included within definition of 'cohabitants'
- a new offence of causing or allowing to cause the death of a child was introduced
- multi-agency domestic homicide reviews have been established following the death of a person resulting from violence or neglect by a relative or within an intimate personal relationship
- common assault has become an arrestable offence
- the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 has been amended to enable courts to extend the availability of restraining orders on conviction or acquittal in order to protect the victims
- changes to powers following a finding of insanity or unfitness to plead
- measures to allow non-jury trials in the Crown Court where the instances of offending conduct are too numerous to be dealt with at a single trial
- changes to intermittent custody
- the Home Secretary is required to issue a code of practice for victims and witnesses of crime to be followed by those who have functions relating to victims or the criminal justice system as a whole
- a Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses has been created
This work is essential reading for all family and criminal lawyers, as well as practitioners within the criminal and family justice systems. In addition to the detailed commentary, the full text of the Act is included.
The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Bill was originally intended to introduce changes in the law to implement some, though not all, of the policy proposals relating to domestic violence, and victims generally, made by the Government in a series of Consultation and White Papers over the last couple of years. However, the opportunity was taken by the Government to introduce other changes relating to criminal justice matters, the result being an Act which, whilst having a central theme, contains a very mixed bag of provisions.
The purpose of this book is to provide for practitioners and others working in this area a clear, but concise, explanation and analysis of these provisions, the context in which they are introduced and their likely effect. We do not seek to examine directly the merits of the policy choices that underpin the provisions. Various individuals have made helpful contributions during the writing of this
Particular thanks are due to Professor Richard Card, at De Montfort University, who helpfully read and commented on an early draft of Chapter 3, whilst Professor Michael Hirst and Professor Ronnie Mackay, again at De Montfort, made useful comments on aspects of the legislation. The responsibility for the text, and any errors, is, though, that of the authors alone. Thanks are also due to Tony Hawitt and the production team at Jordan Publishing, who have provided very helpful support
The law is stated as at 20 January 2005
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