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Ministers challenge domestic abuse cases being subject to MAPPA

Lords amendment would place culprits on the violent and sex offender register and be subject to multi-agency monitoring.

Ministers challenge domestic abuse cases being subject to MAPPA

Date - 15th April 2021
By - Gary Mason
3 Comments 3 Comments}

An amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill which would require police forces and other agencies to flag, track and target repeat perpetrators and stalkers is being challenged by the Government.

Under the change made in the Lords, offenders would be put on the violent and sex offender register and subjected to monitoring and management through the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA).

The Government would also have to produce a comprehensive strategy for dealing with domestic abusers and stalkers, within a year of the Bill becoming law.

Instead, ministers have tabled a new amendment in which the Government agrees to publish a strategy for prosecution and management of offenders involved in domestic abuse.

This must be published within 12 months of the legislation becoming law and be kept under review by the secretary of state.

Speaking in the Commons, Safeguarding Minister Victoria Atkins said that proposals to introduce a new category for managing high-harm domestic abuse perpetrators would add complexity.

Ms Atkins was responding to Lords Amendment 42 which seeks to strengthen the management of domestic abuse perpetrators.

She said: “This is an objective with which we can all agree, but we have concerns about how the amendment would work out. The first limb of the amendment seeks, in effect, to create a new category of offender to be managed under multi-agency public protection arrangements, commonly referred to as MAPPA.

“To put this into context, last year nearly 86,000 offenders were managed by the MAPPA arrangements. The Government believes that creating a new MAPPA category for high-harm domestic abuse and stalking perpetrators would bring in added complexity to the MAPPA framework without compensating benefits.

“The Criminal Justice Act 2003 already provides for serial and high-harm offenders to be managed under MAPPA. The real issue is not therefore the statutory framework, but how it is applied in practice. Here we accept there is more to do and we are strengthening the MAPPA statutory guidance to include sections on domestic abuse.”

The Domestic Abuse Bill aims to put an end to the so-called “rough sex defence”, recognise children as victims of domestic abuse and criminalise in England and Wales threats to share intimate images of another person without their consent.

Other reforms contained within the legislation include the first legal Government definition of domestic abuse, which would include economic abuse and controlling and manipulative non-physical behaviour.

The Government also made a concession in the Lords over recording misogyny as a hate crime.

It confirmed police forces from the autumn will be asked to record and identify any crimes of violence, including stalking and sexual offences, where the victim believed it to have been motivated by “hostility based on their sex”.

But despite making a myriad of changes as the Bill progressed through the Commons and the Lords, the Government on Thursday will aim to reverse further amendments made by peers.

These include efforts to prevent the details of a person seeking help being used for immigration control purposes, a demand for disabled people to be protected from abuse by carers, and proposals to guarantee children have safe supervised contact with a parent they do not live with by requiring all child contact centres to be accredited in line with national standards.

Amendments were also approved in the Lords to clarify the degree of reasonable force a survivor could use in defending themselves against their perpetrator, with the Government tabling a motion to disagree with this change.

Both the Commons and Lords must agree on the final form of the Bill before it can receive royal assent and become law.

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PCsensible - Sat, 17 April 2021

Best way to manage repeat offenders is very long and substantial prison sentences but unfortunately we all know that ship has long sailed