More can be done now to help deal with domestic abuse thanks to the new Domestic Abuse Act.

The Act was passed by Tynwald in 2020 and but has only now come into force.

The courts and police have been granted more powers to help protect victims of domestic abuse.

These new powers include the ability to put more restrictions on offenders by issuing Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and Orders (DAPNs and DAPOs).

DAPNs can be by police officers on the spot for the short-term protection of victims from perpetrators of domestic abuse and have been identified as an immediate welfare concern.

DAPOs can be issued by the courts as an escalation of a DAPN to protect victims and survivors on a longer-term basis.

The Act also broadens the definition of domestic abuse to include ‘financial abuse, mental abuse and coercive or controlling behaviour’ as offences as well as physical abuse.

The Isle of Man Courier previously reported that Chief Constable Gary Roberts had disclosed that there are between 750 to 800 reports of domestic abuse annually.

Mr Roberts said: ‘The Domestic Abuse Act defines domestic abuse for the first time, it creates a specific domestic abuse offence which we haven’t had before.’

Minister for Justice and Home Affairs Jane Poole-Wilson MHK said: ‘This is a really important step towards providing the legal protections and support for victims and survivors of abuse.

‘There is still a lot of work to do in 2023 to ensure that we’re providing all of the services that we can, but I hope that this will give more women and men the confidence to come forward if they are experiencing any of the forms of domestic abuse.’

The working protocol for the Act will be co-ordinated between the police and Manx Care to better serve victims of domestic abuse.

There are still a few policies that are being considered and debated, including the introduction of the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, which is more commonly known as Clare’s Law (named after a murder victim from Salford), to the Isle of Man, the installation of formal processes and procedures are yet to be implemented.

Clare’s Law is a piece of legislation whereby the police are allowed to release information about a person’s past domestic abuse history should it need to be disclosed to a victim or potential victim.

The implementation plan set out by the government says: ‘Feasibility to the introduction of an information sharing arrangements and where that would sit in terms of prioritisation will be considered from January 2023 onwards and will form a part of the Domestic Abuse Strategy.’