Tackling ongoing emotional abuse must be included in government’s strategy to combat domestic violence.
Tatton MP Esther McVey said some of her constituents had practical ideas on how to end emotional abuse between couples who have split up but have children.
Speaking in Parliament she told MPs how emotional abuse must not be ignored and secured a meeting with Women’s Minster Minister Victoria Atkins to discuss the issue further.
Ms McVey said: “As part of the discussion around domestic violence, we need to discuss issues of continuing emotional abuse once a couple have divorced but share parenting of their children. Constituents of mine in that situation have some practical suggestions to reduce opportunities for emotional bullying. I would appreciate if the minister could meet with me to discuss this important issue.”
Responding during the exchange in Home Office Questions, Mrs Atkins said: “The Bill is just part of our response to tackling domestic abuse, there are a range of non legislative measures as well and in making sure that we include emotional abuse in the definition of domestic abuse will help victims of terrible crime. I will be delighted to meet with her.”
It comes as government announced its long-awaited domestic violence strategy. Measures in the draft bill include creating new powers to force abusers into rehabilitation programmes aimed at changing their behaviours, ensure victims automatically get special protection when giving evidence in criminal trials and stop abusers from cross examining victims in family courts. In addition a national domestic abuse commissioner will be set up to improve how victims are treated across all public services.
Ms McVey added: “I welcome the government’s domestic abuse bill and the announcement made today. It is vital that we also look at emotional abuse which is often overlooked. My constituents have some very good ideas and I look forward to meeting with Victoria Atkins and other officials in the Home Office to set these out as I believe they could significantly improve lives and curb emotional abuse which is something we all want to see.”