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Stella Creasy MP, Labour's Shadow Home Office Minister, responding to the consultation on the definition of domestic violence, said:

"It is right for the Government to look at widening the definition of domestic abuse - but unfortunately they are still doing the opposite in Parliament at the moment and making it harder not easier for victims to get the help they need.

"The police and victims know how dangerous different kinds of behaviour and domestic abuse can become, that is why it is very sensible to look at broadening the approach to domestic abuse.

"However the Government is contradicting their own consultation in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. Instead of widening the definition of domestic violence, they are narrowing it and making it extremely hard for victims to demonstrate that abuse has taken place before getting the help they need in child custody or divorce cases so they can leave violent relationships.

"We welcome moves that prevent or tackle domestic abuse. But if the Government is serious about helping victims and tackling this horrible crime they must make sure that every area of government - including the Ministry of Justice - uses the same widened definition and look seriously at how to avert the growing crisis facing women's refuges too."

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