Campaigners search pressing help for amendments to home abuse invoice – Incapacity Information Service
Activists seek “urgent” support for their attempt to improve the rights of disabled survivors of domestic violence through new government legislation.
They say time is running out to secure support in the House of Lords for two important changes to the domestic violence law. Changes that they believe will change the lives of disabled survivors significantly.
The Lords will begin debating the reporting phase of the bill on March 8, with the bill already approved by MPs.
Lobbying is led by the London-based user-run organization Stay Safe East, which works with disabled survivors of domestic and sexual abuse, hate crimes and other forms of abuse.
This week it wrote to other disability organizations, women’s organizations, charities and their peers to try to build support for the two amendments.
One of the changes would be to remove from the law the existing “Caregiver Defense” which allows a family member or partner accused of abuse to claim to be acting in the best interests of the disabled person.
Ruth Bashall, Executive Director of Stay Safe East, said: “If this landmark law is to protect victims with disabilities as well as victims without disabilities, we need to ensure that abusers are not provided with a clause that gives them the best Interest can claim justification for the abuse by us. “
The other change would expand protection for disabled people so that the measures in the bill cover not only abuse by family members and partners, but also paid caregivers and personal assistants, as well as friends and neighbors performing unpaid caring duties.
Bashall said, “Every year disabled people are victims of abuse by both paid and unpaid carers or personal assistants with whom they have a close relationship but are not family members and there are very few laws to protect us.”
This second amendment has already received significant bipartisan support – including from at least five Tory colleagues – when it was discussed in the Lords last month.
The efforts in the Lords are led by the disabled Crossbench colleague Baroness [Jane] Campbell and Baroness [Tanni] Gray-Thompson.
Baroness Campbell helped coordinate a legal view on the second amendment by leading senior social welfare and discrimination lawyers Paul Bowen, Catherine Casserley and Steve Broach and disability rights expert Professor Luke Clements.
They have concluded that failure to include the second amendment in the bill is likely to make unlawful disability of persons with disabilities unlawful under the European Convention on Human Rights.
Stay Safe East is now calling on other activists to reach out to members of the House of Lords and MPs to ask for their support for the two amendments, share their social media posts on Twitter and Facebook and sign their petition .
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