Britain’s Home Office, meanwhile, has released analysis that puts the cost of domestic abuse in England and Wales at about £66 billion a year, theguardian.com reported.
The polygraph tests piloted on offenders on license are part of a broad package of measures under the domestic abuse bill, which also includes — in a victory for campaigners who pressed the government on the issue — a ban on the cross-examination of victims by their abusers in the family courts.
Other measures include the introduction of domestic abuse protection orders, which will place restrictions on offenders, and the introduction of the first ever statutory government definition of domestic abuse to specifically include economic abuse and controlling and manipulative nonphysical abuse.
Alongside the bill, the Home Office released research on the cost of domestic abuse to society. The majority of the cost — £47 billion — is attributed to the physical and emotional harm caused by domestic abuse, but the £66-billion total also includes other factors such as the cost to health services of £2.3 billion, the cost to police of £1.3 billion and and the cost to victim services of £724 million.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said, “Throughout my political career I have worked to bring an end to domestic abuse and support survivors as they take the brave decision to leave their abuser and rebuild their lives.
“We know, from the harrowing experiences of victims and their families, that there is still more to do to stamp out this life-shattering crime and the domestic abuse bill will lead the way in bringing about the changes we need to achieve this.”
The minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability, Victoria Atkins, said, “I have heard absolutely heartbreaking accounts of victims whose lives have been ripped apart because of physical, emotional or economic abuse they have suffered by someone close to them.
“The draft domestic abuse bill recognizes the complex nature of these horrific crimes and puts the needs of victims and their families at the forefront.
“This government is absolutely committed to shining a light on domestic abuse to ensure this hidden crime does not remain in the shadows.”
Domestic violence charities broadly welcomed the bill but said resources should be made available to ensure it was effective.
Katie Ghose, the chief executive of Women’s Aid, said, “Domestic abuse costs lives and it costs money. It is happening at epidemic levels yet it has been largely hidden behind closed doors. Now is the time to bring it out into the spotlight and address the impact of domestic abuse properly once and for all.
“The domestic abuse bill has the potential to create a step-change in the national response and this must be backed up with sustainable funding for our lifesaving network of specialist support services to make a real difference to survivors’ lives.”
About two million adults are estimated to have experienced domestic abuse each year, affecting almost six percent of all adults. Women are twice more likely to be victims than men.
Under domestic abuse protection orders, perpetrators could be required to attend rehabilitation programs where substance abuse was a factor in that abuse, or other behavior change programs.
The legislation will introduce automatic eligibility for victims for special measures in criminal courts to reduce the stress of giving evidence in criminal proceedings and will include the appointment of a domestic abuse commissioner, who will work to ensure that services are provided.
The statutory guidance and Crown Prosecution Service legal guidance for the offense of controlling or coercive behavior will also be updated.
Sandra Horley, the chief executive of Refuge, said, “The cost [of domestic violence] to women’s and children’s lives is devastating. But now the immense cost to the taxpayer has been laid bare, too. Domestic violence is truly everybody’s business.
“This bill represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address domestic violence; but in order to do so, we must ensure its aspirations are matched by adequate resource. We will continue to work closely with the government to ensure the final bill meets the needs of the women and children we support.”
Suzanne Jacob OBE, the chief executive of SafeLives, said, “The government estimates today that perpetrators cost the economy £66 billion — more than the cost of alcohol and drug misuse, cigarettes and obesity combined. It affects more than two million people every year.
“For too long, we’ve expected victims and children to uproot their lives while the perpetrators remain invisible and unchallenged by the system. The new change in approach reflects what hundreds of survivors told SafeLives they wanted — we’re pleased the government is listening.”
The draft bill will introduce measures to address coercive control and economic abuse, how domestic abuse affects children and transform the response in the justice system.
A series of non-legislative measures were also announced, including £8 million of Home Office funding to support children affected by domestic abuse, implementing a domestic abuse specialist in each job center who will receive further training on how to support claimants who are victims of domestic abuse, and additional £500,000 funding for provisions for male victims.