In April last year, I made my maiden speech during the Bill’s Second Reading debate and talked about my passion for supporting those who need it the most. Many Members from different parties have explained how far the Bill has come over the years, and it is important that changes have been made. I am proud to support the Bill as it will protect and give new rights to victims.
The Minister said in Committee that more than 2.4 million people are not safe in their own home and are subjected to scarring abuse. That is a huge figure and I am glad that the Government have responded to the voices of victims with this Bill, which is set to transform millions of lives. I thank everybody who has shared their personal experiences and contributed to the Bill.
Before I go any further, I wish to acknowledge the work of my local victim support services in Hyndburn police and the Hyndburn and Ribble Valley domestic violence team. These organisations have given a lifeline to domestic abuse victims in my constituency, as statistics continue to show the prevalence of domestic violence in households across the country. I speak regularly to Debbie who runs the Emily Davison Centre in my constituency. She has told me some harrowing stories and how covid has exasperated domestic abuse in homes. The centre has had to completely adapt the services that it provides and it is now much more about wraparound care.
I agree with the sentiments behinds all the Lords amendments, and I am pleased to see that the Government have accepted amendments such as Lords amendment 36 and Lords amendment 35, on what we know as revenge porn and the sharing of private images. Just the thought of being in that position, especially in professional positions—we will have seen and heard about that. It is hard to think that somebody could share an image and then everything that a person has worked for is gone, due to that one action by somebody who, in a lot of cases, that person will have previously loved, thinking it would never happen to them.
I welcome the Minister’s comments about the strategy review and the need for reform, and I welcome the support scheme for migrant victims, although, like my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mrs Miller), I would like the Minister to address specifically what it will look like. That is important for us all.
The Bill goes beyond previous definitions of domestic abuse and highlights the harrowing impact of emotional and coercive abuse. The definition is in place for victims who felt that their concerns were not legitimate when they were criticised by their partner and who were made to believe that the problem was always their fault. The Bill reinforces the rights of victims and shows perpetrators that they cannot get away with physical or emotional abuse anymore. As I have said previously, we are now joining together to say that it is absolutely not okay.
I got into politics to help those who have no voice and this landmark Bill does just that. I am proud of the difference that the Government are making, with this Bill, to the lives of people across the UK, and I am proud of the cross-party support that we have seen as we have moved through all its stages. I have not been around for all the Bill’s stages, but I have seen that that support has done tremendous work in making the Bill what it is today.