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The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Bill 2004, currently before Parliament, will make significant changes to the way in which instances of domestic violence are dealt with by the courts, together with measures to improve the treatment of victims and witnesses of domestic crime.
The Act will make many changes to the existing legal framework, including: breaches of a non-molestation order will become a criminal offence and same-sex couples will be included within definition of 'cohabitants'; there will be a new offence of causing or allowing to cause the death of a child; multi-agency domestic homicide reviews will be established following the death of a person resulting from violence or neglect by a relative or intimate personal relationship; common assault will become an arrestable offence; the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 will be amended to enable courts to extend the availability of restraining orders on conviction or acquittal in order to protect the victims; changes to powers following a finding of insanity or unfitness to plead; measures to allow non-jury trials in the Crown Court where the offending conduct is too numerous to be dealt with at a single trial; changes to intermittent custody; the Home Secretary will be required to issue a code of practice for victims and witnesses of crime to be followed by those who have functions relating to victims or the criminal justice system as a whole; and there will be a Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses
In addition to the detailed commentary the full text of the Act is included.