Domestic Abuse Bill

Written evidence submitted by Working Chance (DAB26)

To the Public Bill Committee:

We 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.

We know from our work with women with convictions that there are too many women being sent to prison who do not pose a risk to the public. Their convictions are too often linked to domestic violence. The Prison Reform Trust’s proposals to amend the Bill would go some way to making sure these women do not end up in prison, with their lives changed for the worse and their prospects for employment greatly hindered.

Kind regards,

Olivia Dehnavi

Policy and Research Officer

May 2020


Prepared 11th June 2020