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UK News

Christian charity says new domestic abuse bill 'doesn't go far enough'

by Heather Preston

A Christian charity has said new laws proposed by the government to protect victims of domestic abuse "don't go far enough".

The latest version of the Domestic Abuse Bill was debated in Parliment on Tuesday and could see domestic abusers face lie detector tests on release from prison.

The proposals, which went before MPs, could also stop perpetrators in England and Wales from contacting a victim.

Restored, a Christian charity that works to end violence against women has welcomed the changes but wants to see further action taken.

"We welcome the changes that the government are putting forward" Restored co-director Mandy Marshall told Premier.

"The proposed changes are a good start, but they do not go far enough. We want long term sustainable funding for services to be secured, and actually put forward," Marshall added.

Plans for the legislation remain broadly the same as before and still include plans for forcing domestic abusers to take polygraph tests - similar to ideas mooted for monitoring terrorists.

If the law passes, a three-year pilot will be carried out on domestic abusers which are deemed at high-risk of causing serious harm. If successful, it will be rolled out nationwide.

Around 300 offenders will take a lie detector test three months after their release and every six months after that, according to the Home Office.

Marshall said she wants to see Christians, churches and faith leaders recognised for the central role they play in the community and provide funding for training to help them "respond appropriately and effectively" when domestic abuse is disclosed.

She said sometimes victims of abuse have been damaged by the church or the responses that they received and work needs to be done to ensure leaders are adequately equipped to support them.

"Churches can be educated on what domestic abuse is and what that looks like, so that when they're able to identify it, they can respond appropriately and effectively. It's about speaking about it in sermons and in our churches."

"We've been lobbying with the government to include faith in their response and we're still concerned about membership of faith groups and faith organisations," Marshall said.

The Government also said it is reviewing support for migrant domestic abuse victims.

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