Disabled peer secures victory over authorities on home abuse invoice – Incapacity Information Service

A disabled peer has inflicted severe defeat on the government for refusing to extend the rights of disabled domestic abuse survivors through new laws.

baroness [Jane] Campbell received bipartisan support for her amendments to the government’s domestic violence law when they were discussed in the reporting phase on Monday.

The changes mean that the measures in the bill will cover not only abuse by family members and partners, but also paid carers and personal assistants, and friends and neighbors performing unpaid caring duties.

The bill includes measures to establish a legal definition of domestic abuse, establish a domestic abuse officer and require local authorities in England to support domestic abuse survivors and their children in shelters and other safe shelters.

One vote on one of Baroness Campbell’s proposed amendments was won by 318 votes to 234, while the other two were passed by peers without a vote.

Despite the vote, the amendments still have to be approved by MPs when the bill returns to the House of Commons *.

A total of 13 bipartisan colleagues voted in favor of the amendments proposed by Baroness Campbell, against which only Interior Secretary Baroness Williams spoke.

Baroness Campbell (pictured) told colleagues that it would be “totally unjust and discriminatory” to deny disabled people protection from the new legislation.

She said that the “vast majority” of caregivers are “caring, compassionate, and completely loyal,” but that in a few cases they are not.

She said, “Domestic abuse is not limited to family members or sexual partners. Disabled people of all ages can be abused by people on whose care they depend.

“These relationships are often associated with an imbalance of power and are just as susceptible to abuse as those between family members or partners.”

She said she remembered a “haunting” example of abuse brought to her as the executive director of the National Center for Independent Living.

A speechless handicapped man using a communications board had told her how she was “routinely taken out of reach so that his caregiver would not be interrupted.”

She added, “He was too afraid to complain because, as he put it, he had the ‘likely consequences’.”

She said that evidence “clearly shows that such abuse continues to this day”.

Baroness, another disabled Crossbench colleague [Tanni] Gray-Thompson, who helped in the attempts to amend the bill, said, “If you include this here, you can better understand the extent of the abuse of disabled people, but it is also important for the people who are affected. if and when they seek support.

“I am concerned that, if disabled people are not included in this legislation, they will fall through the web of reporting and support and become more at risk.”

Along with Baroness Campbell, she praised the lobbying work of the user-run organization Stay Safe East, which works with disabled survivors of domestic and sexual abuse, hate crimes and other forms of abuse.

She added: “Given the significant number of disabled people affected by domestic violence, it is imperative that the change be accepted.”

The disabled liberal democratic peer baroness [Sal] Brinton also supported the amendments.

She said, “The problem with private home care is that it is often not visible at all. That is why these amendments are so important.

“The bill needs to understand that the relationship between disabled people and their personal carers is akin to the family and relationship definitions used elsewhere in domestic abuse legislation.”

The disabled Conservative Peer Lord Shinkwin praised the “practical, sensible amendments”.

He said the government needs to ensure that disabled people “are equally protected from abuse in the home environment.

“This equal treatment must be based on the simple recognition that a disability, especially if a disability leaves a disabled person dependent on the caregiver or personal assistant, also makes them vulnerable to domestic violence by their caregiver or personal assistant.”

Although no peer opposed the amendments, Baroness Williams insisted that they would “have a detrimental effect on the overall understanding of domestic abuse and the complexities of the family and intimate partner relationships that are to be understood as domestic abuse”.

She said they would mean that the legislation would “encompass a much wider range of links within health and social care covered by other laws and confuse the meaning of domestic abuse”.

And she said this would mean “diluting and broadening the focus of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner” while the government is “doing much of the work we are doing to prepare for the implementation of the law and develop a new strategy on domestic abuse.” , reset and reevaluate “. .

Baroness Williams said protection from the type of abuse committed by Baroness Campbell is provided by existing laws such as the Care Act 2014 and the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.

Baroness Campbell said she was “deeply disappointed” with the minister’s response that the government “simply does not understand the nature of domestic abuse of disabled people”.

She said the amendments would not dilute the bill, but strengthen it “because it will include those who are being abused domestically at the time for relying on someone else”.

She said, “It is not pleasant to think about the domestic abuse of disabled people in the intimate surroundings of the home – but it is happening.

“We have to acknowledge it and we have to develop a solid way of going about it.”

Baroness Campbell had previously said: “So often when disabled people are fighting for their civil and human rights, we are told that our demands would open the floodgates to unmanageable legal disputes.

“It has happened at every stage of the campaign for disability rights legislation. This is not the place to repeat this exercise. “

After the debate, she told the Disability News Service, “I would like to urge the Commons to seriously consider including disabled people and carers in this flagship law against domestic violence by the end of the month.

“Members of the Lords have had extensive consultations with disability groups, have given opinions from highly specialized disability discrimination and welfare lawyers who support the intent of my amendments and have received bipartisan support.

“This should certainly be taken very seriously by MEPs. Now it’s up to you. “

* Other changes proposed by Baroness Campbell were discussed last night (Wednesday) and would have made similar changes to control or coercive behavior under the Serious Crime Act 2015. However, she withdrew them as there was a risk that they would jeopardize another change that she was at risk and supported Baroness Gray-Thompson, who had supported the government. Because of the government’s refusal to support her amendments, she said she had “no alternative” but to withdraw her “very sadly.”

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