Domestic Abuse and Family Proceedings Bill - Committee Stage

Call for Evidence

The Committee for Justice would like to hear your views, and particularly the views of victims of domestic abuse, on the Domestic Abuse and Family Proceedings Bill.


View the Domestic Abuse and Family Proceedings Bill and accompanying Explanatory and Financial Memorandum. 


At its meeting on 2 April 2020 the Committee received a briefing on the principles of the Bill from Department of Justice officials.


This Bill provides for:

  • A new offence of domestic abuse focusing on non-physical abusive behaviour including coercive control
  • Domestic Abuse aggravators for sentencing including where a child is involved
  • Prevention of cross-examination of witnesses by persons accused of domestic abuse in criminal and family proceedings
  • Special measures for the protection of witnesses in domestic abuse proceedings
  • The prohibition of a person charged with domestic abuse to the right to trial by a jury


The Committee welcomes evidence on any aspect of the Bill.

In particular the Committee would welcome views on the following:

  • How this new domestic abuse legislation enhances existing legislation and whether it fully addresses the gaps in existing law and will improve the ability of the justice agencies to prosecute domestic abuse cases
  • The definition of the offence and the definition of abusive behaviour
  • Any identified issues regarding the investigation and prosecution of the new offence
  • Whether the ‘reasonable’ defence included in the legislation is framed appropriately and the intent of when it would apply is clear
  • Whether the penalties provided for in the Bill are appropriate and adequate
  • Any other legislative or non-legislative approaches to tackle domestic abuse not currently in place that should be taken forward either in this Bill or in another piece of legislation or by other means


How to submit written evidence

Written evidence should be submitted in word format and preferably by email to or, by post, to The Committee Clerk, Room 242, Parliament Buildings, Ballymiscaw, Stormont, Belfast, BT4 3XX.

Written submissions should be structured to address the specific clauses of the Bill and/or the areas identified by the Committee and, if appropriate, should include any amendments you wish to propose to the text.

Organisations or individuals responding to this call for evidence should note that their written submission (either in whole or part) may be published on the Committee webpage.

The Committee recognises that in some circumstances people may prefer for their evidence to be treated as confidential, or published anonymously. If you wish to do this please make this clear when submitting your evidence.


The closing date for written submissions is Friday 5 June 2020

If you have any queries or require any further information about the call for evidence or the Committee Stage of the Domestic Abuse and Family Proceedings Bill please contact the Committee Clerk by email at or by phone at 028 9052 1629.

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