Domestic Abuse Bill

Written evidence submitted by Soroptimist UK Programme Action Committee (UKPAC) (DAB10)

Dear Committee Members

Domestic Abuse Bill – legal protection for women who offend as a result of abuse

We the Soroptimist UK Programme Action Committee hope the Public Bill Committee will join us in supporting the Prison Reform Trust’s proposals to amend the Bill to improve legal protection for victims/survivors who offend due to their experience of domestic abuse.  


Official figures show that nearly 60% of women in prison are victims/survivors of domestic abuse and this is likely to be an underestimate.  Many have been driven to offend by their experience of abuse, yet they have no effective defence.  Parliament now has an opportunity to modernise the law through the Domestic Abuse Bill, by introducing legal defences that reflect improved public understanding of domestic abuse.  The proposed legislation and surrounding policy framework would encourage earlier disclosure of abuse and access to support.

Soroptimists are committed to improving the lives of girls and women locally, nationally and internationally. Many of our members are involved in delivering local women’s services, supporting women’s refuges and engaging with women’s prisons and can bear witness to the need for better legal protection. We commend the evidence gathered by the Prison Reform Trust Transforming Lives programme and note the wide range of endorsements that their proposals have garnered:

We urge you to amend the Domestic Abuse Bill to include the proposed statutory defence. This would send out a clear signal of support to women in very vulnerable situations and significantly improve the legal framework for those who have been victims of more serious offences than those of which they are accused.

Yours faithfully

Lindsay Green Liz Dominey

Lead for Prison Reform Working Group Chair UKPAC

Soroptimists UK Programme Action Committee, (UKPAC)

Women inspiring action, transforming lives.

May 2020


Prepared 11th June 2020