Victims of domestic abuse living in shelters and refuges can now vote anonymously, following changes to voter registration rules.
The estimated 12,000 residents of domestic violence shelters, along with those living in the community, will be able to register to vote without their name appearing on the public electoral role, in order to prevent their ex-partners using that route to track them down.
In addition, a greater number of professionals can now provide formal verification of a person’s status as a victim of abuse. These now include refuge managers, medical staff including nurses and midwives, and police inspectors.
The changes will also come into effect in Scotland on 1 April.
Tory MP Chloe Smith is the recently appointed Minister for the Constitution. She said:
“It’s simply unacceptable that fear of revealing their address to an ex-partner has stopped victims of domestic abuse from voting. Which is why this Government took decisive action and is making it easier for those at risk to register and vote anonymously.”
“I’m proud of how seriously this government is tackling domestic abuse – we have pledged £100 million in dedicated funding until 2020.”