Most dangerous abusers to go on sex offender’s register

On 20 February 2023, the Government announced plans for tougher management of most dangerous abusers and new protections for victims. 

The Government claims the new proposals go further than before in protecting women and girls from harassment, aggression and violence, and focus on stopping domestic abuse before it takes place.

BWP’s CEO, Colette Byrne, said: “It’s encouraging to see that there are plans to make significant steps forward to hold perpetrators to account, so let’s hope it’s embedded swiftly with the relevant training in place to ensure that it makes the impact that it needs to.”

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‘The law will be changed so that the most dangerous domestic abusers will be watched more closely. For the first time, controlling or coercive behaviour will be put on a par with physical violence, which will mean offenders sentenced to a year or more imprisonment or a suspended sentence will automatically be actively managed by the police, prison and probation services under multi-agency public protection arrangements.

‘A range of agencies will have a legal duty to cooperate to manage the risks posed by these dangerous offenders. This will make it easier to deliver a joined-up approach to protect the public.

‘While we are pursuing this legislation, police and the probation service will start work immediately to ensure that from now offenders sentenced to a year or more for controlling and coercive behaviour are recorded on the violent and sex offender register, so that they don’t fall through the cracks.

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‘In addition, abusers could be fitted with a tag, prevented from going within a certain distance of a victim’s home, and made to attend a behaviour change programme, as part of a trial of domestic abuse protection notices and domestic abuse protection orders in three areas in the UK.

Also from 20 February 2023, those at risk of, or suffering from, domestic abuse will be able to receive emergency help from one of 18 jobcentres and jobs and benefit offices across the UK, and a new postcode checker will tell them their nearest location to access the service.

Nicole Jacobs, the domestic abuse commissioner for England and Wales, said monitoring convicted domestic abuse perpetrators would require investment, adding “we need to make sure that this is properly resourced and that is not in this announcement today”.

She said other anti-abuse policies in recent years have not been given sufficient backing, warning “the attention and ongoing commitment is dropped” after an announcement.

Ms Jacobs said “the vast majority of all perpetrators are not known to the police and may not have a conviction”, meaning they would not be subject to the new requirements.

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