LOCAL MP ENSURES DOMESTIC ABUSE SURVIVORS GIVEN A VOICE TO VOTE

Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore has confirmed the Government will press ahead with plans to make it easier for domestic abuse survivors to register to vote anonymously.

Chris, who is the Minister in charge of the policy area, has been working with local domestic abuse charity Survive and local constituent Mehala Osborne, to introduce these changes.

Under existing legislation, domestic abuse survivors must provide a court order or have their application supported by a senior independent witness, such as a police superintendent, in order to appear anonymously on the electoral register.

These strict requirements have deterred many from registering at all – prompting a campaign by charities and survivors to make it more accessible.

The government’s changes will increase the number of people who can act as witnesses, including medical and healthcare professionals and refuge workers, and expand the type of evidence which can be put forward.

To complement the legislative changes, the Cabinet Office will launch further research to identify and explain other barriers to electoral registration faced by survivors of domestic abuse. This research will be critical in shaping new policies, projects and future engagement.

Chris Skidmore, Minister for the Constitution, said:

“As the local MP I have always worked closely with local Domestic Violence charity, Survive, on projects in the past and I was inspired by my constituent Mehala Osborne’s story on this particular issue.

I am delighted to announce that the Government will make it easier for domestic violence survivors to register to vote anonymously, and I am pleased that survivors will now be able participate in our democracy and make their voices heard at the ballot box.”