New Domestic Abuse Act prohibits abusers from cross-examining their victims

13/06/2022

With the introduction of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, neither a non-legally represented victim of domestic abuse nor the alleged wrongdoer can pose questions to the other during a trial. This questioning arises during the cross-examination stage of a trial, which is defined as “aggressive or detailed questioning of someone”.

The court will now appoint a suitably qualified barrister or solicitor to deal with cross-examination. The main thrust behind the legislation is to protect the victim from being subjected to a line of questioning by an alleged abuser who may be guilty of actual or threatened violence and/or coercive control over the victim. Such questioning can lead to a victim feeling further victimised, vulnerable, intimidated and frightened, which can prevent the proper course of justice in such cases.

Portner partner and head of family Teena Dhanota- Jones says: “I welcome this legislation. Hopefully, it will encourage victims of abuse to push forward with prosecutions knowing they will not be confronted by their abuser in a courtroom. This will lead to the proper course of justice.”

If you require any further information, please contact Teena Dhanota-Jones at tdj@portner.co.uk.

Disclaimer: The above is merely general guidance and should not be relied on as formal advice. We suggest you take professional advice before taking any action in relation to the issues discussed above.