Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has backed a campaign to allow domestic violence victims to conceal their address in court.
‘Eve’s Law’ is named after Eve Thomas, a victim of domestic violence who was threatened with a jail sentence last year for contempt of court after refusing to disclose the address of her safe house during a court appearance.
Mr Clegg pledged Liberal Democrat support for the campaign in a letter to Shaun Wright, the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, who has been pressing MPs to support an early day motion calling for legislation.
The Labour motion states that “victims of domestic violence and abuse are being placed at risk when forced to give their safe address in open court”, adding that the current insistence on disclosure in court could discourage victims. It has been signed by 84 MPs to date, the Guardian reports.
Thomas told the paper that she welcomed the news, saying she would continue her campaign for a change in the law.
Labour MP Dan Jarvis said:
“It’s simply unacceptable that victims of domestic violence and abuse currently risk being forced to disclose their address and contact details in open court. Victims need to know that the criminal justice system is on their side.”
“Labour has been calling for months for the government to tackle this problem but ministers have resisted going any further than a voluntary code of practice. We need to go further so that victims’ confidential information is properly protected.”
Earlier this month, Home Secretary Theresa May announced the national rollout of Clare’s Law, a scheme which enables people to enquire whether their partners have a history of domestic violence.
Her announcement included “a commitment to put in place a new code of practice to ensure that safe addresses of victims of domestic and sexual abuse are protected”, which would “take effect where victims might otherwise have to reveal details of their address to people who could threaten them – for example in court cases unrelated to their abuse, or when required for their children’s school records, or the family’s access to benefits.”