New amendments to crime bill could see breastfeeding mothers and domestic abuse victims given more protection

Amendments to the Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts bill has proposed a longer time for domestic victims to report crimes and could offer extra protection to breastfeeding mother photographed without their consent

Those who photograph breastfeeding mothers without their consent could face up to two years in jail under new proposals. (Credit: Shutterstock)Those who photograph breastfeeding mothers without their consent could face up to two years in jail under new proposals. (Credit: Shutterstock)
Those who photograph breastfeeding mothers without their consent could face up to two years in jail under new proposals. (Credit: Shutterstock)

Domestic abuse victims and breastfeeding mothers could be given new protections in England and Wales under new amendments to the Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill.

In the amendments, it has been proposed that domestic abuse victims are given a longer time period to go to police to report abuse.

Breastfeeding mothers who are photographed without their consent could also see the perpetrator jailed for up to two years and covers “situations where the motive is to obtain secual gratification, or to cause humiliation, distress or harm”, according to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

New breastfeeding amendment welcomed by MPs

The new proposed changes to the bill, which is currently going through parliament, have been applauded by MPs.

Labour MP Stella Creasy submitted the amendment to protect breastfeeding mother after she was photographed breastfeeding her child on public transport without her consent last summer.

The MoJ stated that “taking non-consensual photographs or video recordings of breastfeeding mothers” would be made a “specific” breastfeeding voyeurism offence, which allows “police and prosecutors the clarity and powers they need to ensure perpetrators face justice.”

Dominic Raab, Justice Secretary, backed the new amendment, adding that “no new mum should be harrassed in this way.”

He said: “We are committed to doing everything we can to protect women, make them feel safer, and give them greater confidence in the justice system.”

‘We will keep the pressure up for more action’

Likewise the proposal to extend the time limit for which domestic abuse victims can report abuse has been backed across the board.

Currently, the time limit of reporting common assault cases is six months, which means that the case must be brought to court six months from the date of the alleged crime.

Under the new plans, this could be pushed to two years, with many domestic abuse campaigners stating that some women may be reluctant or may not be able to come forward in the current time frame.

Nicole Jacobs, Domestic Abuse Commissioner, said: “It is important that all domestic abuse victims have the time and opportunity to report to the police.

“This is especially important following Covid restrictions, when many victims faced additional challenges to seeking help and reporting domestic abuse.

“I want to see increased prosecutions for domestic abuse and hope to see that, as these measures remove another barrier to bringing perpetrators to justice.”

Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, made the amendment after working with a woman from her constituency who had been told that nothing could be done in her case of domestic abuse as she had “run of of time” to report the crime to police.

She said: “We’ve been putting huge pressure on the Government to lift the time limit so I’m glad they have now accepted our proposal to stop victims of domestic abuse being timed out of justice.

“We will keep up the pressure for more action.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Every department in Government is working to address and tackle all issues relating to violence against women and girls.”

Ms Patel added that the new plans for the Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts bill puts “victims’ voices at the heart of our decisions”.

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