UNISON celebrates Domestic Abuse Bill passing into law

Abuse survivors will have new workplace protections as a direct result of work by UNISON

hands raised, facing palms out to stop violence, against a dark background

UNISON is celebrating after playing a major role in ensuring that new legal protections for those suffering domestic have now become law.

The Domestic Abuse Bill was given royal assent and became law on on 29 April, after years of campaigning from survivors, charities and unions, including UNISON.

The act will provide  increased protection to the millions who experience domestic abuse, while also strengthening measures to tackle the abusers.

In the UK, almost one in three women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, while two women a week are murdered by a partner or ex-partner, usually after a sustained period of suffering abuse.

For the first time in history, there is now a wide-ranging legal definition of domestic abuse, going beyond physical violence to include emotional, coercive or controlling behaviour, and economic abuse.

UNISON has successfully lobbied alongside Labour MP Jess Phillips for the introduction of domestic abuse protection notices, which will provide workplace protections for domestic abuse survivors.

This measure is a direct result of work by the regional and national women’s committees, and intensive cross-party lobbying.

UNISON national officer Josie Irwin said: “The new domestic abuse law is long overdue. During the pandemic, we’ve seen domestic abuse incidents soar, causing untold misery for all those affected.

“UNISON’s national women’s committee has campaigned tirelessly for important new protections to apply in the workplace as well as at home.

“I’m so pleased that the new law will help keep women safe from abusers at work, and proud that UNISON played a part in changing the law,” said Ms Irwin,