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Offenders: Domestic Abuse

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN HL1807, tabled on 7 July 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord Wolfson of Tredegar on 3 February (HL Deb, col 2286), what assessment they have made of (1) the need to review the existing defences for individuals whose offending or alleged offending results from their experience of domestic abuse, and (2) the need for statutory reform in relation to (a) sentencing, (b) conviction, or (c) acquittal.

Answered on

21 July 2021

The Government have committed to conducting a review of domestic homicides which, although primarily about sentencing, will also take account of the current defences to a homicide charge. We intend, following that review, to consider whether it is necessary for a separate review of statutory defences to homicide in the context of domestic abuse to be undertaken, or whether there is evidence of the need for consideration of a specific defence for a wider range of offences for those subject to domestic abuse.

The Ministry of Justice regularly engages with the Law Commission on emerging criminal law issues. Some initial discussions at official level have taken place on this and other related matters but the Government will be awaiting the outcome of the domestic homicide review before it considers whether any legislative change is necessary.