CAROLINE ANSELL MP: New laws set to toughen up on domestic violence

Tangible signs life is getting back to normal abounded over the last few days with busy shops and hospitality in Eastbourne as the weather slowly improves and we look forward to further lockdown easing on May 17

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 1:56 pm

In a hark back to the old days, I even got the chance to physically open something - a new gym! Cargo Gym in Saffrons Road is now in business. It is important people get fit and active so they can become healthier and doing so will help them ward off all kinds of illnesses, including Covid. I wish Sam Parish all the best with his new venture for concern and to all gyms across the town, a successful return.

At the weekend, I also met up with National Citizen Service (NCS) Changemakers for a beach clean. The group planned the clean as part of NCS Action Days in April and nationally thousands of young people have helped in their local communities. The Changemakers chose to support Plastic Free Eastbourne for the clean and collected six bags of litter.

Joining these committed and bright young people for the beach clean and discussing their social action projects was one of the highlights of my week and I thank them for inviting me to be involved.

I am a massive fan of the NCS. It does a great deal to bring young people together with a common purpose to help their communities and understand others. Already sixty-four young people in Eastbourne are signed up for the summer and I will be spreading the word so more have the same opportunity in the seasons to come.

I was back in Westminster this week and the Domestic Violence Bill is about to become law and it will do much to strengthen protection for victims and close legal loopholes for abusers.

Tougher rules around controlling or coercive behaviour, revenge porn and end the so-called ‘rough sex gone wrong’ defence in court cases will become law as soon as the Bill gains Royal Assent.

This is good legislation and I am glad to say it has generally garnered cross-party support as it made its way through both Houses of Parliament.

Sadly, domestic abuse has risen during the pandemic across the country. This new legislation is then much needed, it will punish abusers and, importantly, protect victims for many years to come.

On wider protections, it was very good to see research from the Office for National Statistics this week which suggests that approaching seven in ten people are estimated to have had Covid-19 antibodies. This is very much attributable to our stellar vaccine programme.

Lockdown has played its part in cutting transmission and as we increasingly re-open, routine self-testing needs to take its place. Free tests are available to order on the website or you can pick up from local pharmacies.

There is a great deal to do to build back better but so much to look forward to. Stay safe, take care, and keep in touch.