New law to protect victims of violent and sexual offences

The UK Government is to introduce a new law that will provide better protection for victims and witnesses in cases of violent and sexual offences.

Kay’s Law, will enable police to impose strict conditions on the release of suspects in high-harm cases which include most cases of domestic abuse and sexual violence. It will also ensure that individuals are not held on bail under investigation for unreasonable lengths of time.

The law is named in memory of Kay Richardson, who was murdered by her ex-partner following his release under investigation, despite evidence of previous domestic abuse.

It will be brought before Parliament at a date to be confirmed.

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Eleri Thomas, said: “If passed this new law will offer greater protection for victims and witnesses in high-harm cases. These people are often some of the most vulnerable in our society and I welcome this additional legislation that will help to keep them safe from further harm.”

The changes to legislation follow a consultation by the Home Office on pre-charge bail, which allows police to release a suspect from custody subject to conditions, while they gather evidence or await a charging decision.

It was found that the presumption of pre-charge bail has led to large numbers of suspects being released under investigation for long periods during which they are not required to regularly report to the police.