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BBC Newsnight: MP blasts time limit for domestic violence charges – ‘Getting away with it’

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Speaking on BBC’s Newsnight, Yvette Cooper said the legal system enabled abusers to escape punishment for their crimes. She highlighted the importance of understanding that each case is different and that some can be complex. She said: “I think this is something that hasn’t been taken seriously enough.

“I think it’s something that’s got worse at a time when there’s even more delays in police investigations and prosecutions and so on.

“But this has been a persistent problem for a long time.”

Ms Cooper also pointed out that some victims of domestic violence are not aware of the limits set out by the current legislation.

She added: “I’ve been working with somebody locally who’s been in exactly this situation and she was told that charges couldn’t be put because the six-month limit had been reached.

“She didn’t know that there was a six-month limit, and what what means is that perpetrators of domestic abuse, of horrible violence can end up getting away with it.

“Can end up there being no justice and therefore no protection for future victims, for future people in relationships as well.

“And so I think this doesn’t work. Having that tight time limit on cases that can be so complicated with domestic abuse, where women can take… people who are affected… some time to be ready to talk to the police or to be able to leave an abusive relationship, or to be able to face going through the justice system.”

Ms Cooper’s remarks come after community reform campaigner Baronness Newlove warned that victims of domestic violence must still be kept safe after separating from their abuser.

She said the imminent Domestic Abuse Bill must be changed to safeguard victims also from financial injustice.

The former Victims’ Commissioner said: “It’s human lives we are playing with here.

“Post-separation abuse needs to be in the Bill – they are putting women in debt.

“They are absolutely making them penniless – there’s no class distinction. I do hope they will look at the criminal side and the civil side.”

She added: “We can’t say it’s an all-singing, dancing domestic abuse legislation if we are still fighting at the highest level.”



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