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Domestic Abuse and Civil Proceedings Act (Northern Ireland) 2021

Part 1, Chapter 3 – Miscellaneous Provision

11.Along with the introduction of the new domestic abuse offence, the statutory aggravator and child aggravator a number of associated reforms to criminal procedure, evidence and sentencing are included within the Act. These reforms are intended to reduce the possibility of an accused person using the processes of the justice system to further exert control and influence over their partner/connected person and will help to minimise the trauma for them while ensuring the proper administration of justice is achieved. The Act also makes provision that a child cruelty offence will apply in relation to non-physical ill-treatment of a child.

12.The Chapter also makes provision in relation to a number of measures to improve the support and protection of victims as well as the operation of the Act. This includes the provision of interim protection measures to those affected by domestic abuse as well as powers to enable information to be shared with schools where there has been a domestic abuse incident affecting a child. The Act also provides for the training of those involved in domestic abuse cases, data collection in relation to the new offence, an independent oversight function and reporting on the operation of the Act.

13.Increased access to legal aid in private family law proceedings is provided for victims of abuse to help reduce the financial burden of settling the position of the care of their children through the courts, and to mitigate the risk of these proceedings being used as another way to perpetuate abuse.

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