Mark Whitehead 04 September 2017

New plans will make it easier for domestic abuse victims to vote

New plans will make it easier for domestic abuse victims to vote

The Government has confirmed it will implement plans to make it easier for domestic abuse survivors to register to vote anonymously.

It will increase the number of people who can act as witnesses when someone wants to register without their name being made public, including medical and healthcare professionals and refuge workers, and will also expand the type of evidence which can be put forward.

Currently, domestic abuse survivors must provide a court order or have their application supported by a senior independent witness such as a police superintendent before they can appear anonymously on the electoral register.

Campaigners say the new regulations will particularly benefit an estimated 12,000 women are receiving support in refuges at any one time, and those who have left a refuge but are in hiding from their perpetrators.

Chris Skidmore, minister for the constitution, said: 'Ensuring every eligible person is able to vote is a matter of social justice.

'Every voice matters and this Government will continue to encourage our record levels of democratic participation by ensuring we have a democracy that works for everyone.

Katie Ghose, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said the changes would help survivors of domestic abuse to regain their voices.

'For too long these women have been silenced because it was too dangerous for them to sign up to an electoral register, which would reveal their location, and too difficult for them to register anonymously.'

 
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