Chris Bryant suggests screening for brain injury is added to the Domestic Abuse Bill
08 July 2020
Posted by: Web Admin
Chris Bryant, MP and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Acquired Brain Injury tabled two amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill, which was debated in Parliament this week (6th July 2020).
The two amendments (NC13 and NC14) relate to the horrific prevalence of undiagnosed Acquired Brain Injury amongst women.
The first sought to ensure all women domestic abuse victims (with consent) are screened for a brain injury within two weeks of a domestic abuse protection notice or a domestic abuse protection order being issued. This is vital to ensure that the right support is given to anyone with an ABI so as to manage and mitigate the effects.
The second amendment would require all female prisoners to be screened for ABI within two weeks of their sentence. This would ensure female prisoners receive neuro rehabilitation treatment and advice.
The amendments were suggested following recent research conducted by The Disabilities Trust at Drake Hall women’s prison, which showed that a very high proportion of female prisoners have had a brain injury (in many cases undiagnosed) and that nearly two thirds of those brain injuries were the result of domestic violence.
During the debate the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Victoria Atkins, MP stated that the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) which advises ministers and the NHS had considered and rejected the suggestion a similar proposal in 2019 due to lack of evidence.
However, it transpires that the Committee rejected a proposal to screen the entire population for domestic violence – a very different proposal to that suggested in Chris Bryant’s new clauses.
Chris Bryant said, "I was disappointed by the Minister. I am sure she did not intend to mislead the House, but she said that the national screening agency—I think she meant the National Screening Committee—considered screening, when in fact the committee considered screening every single adult in the country for domestic violence. That is not what we are talking about here. I hope she will correct the record when she winds up the debate."
Chris has scheduled a meeting with the minister and other members of the APPG for Acquired Brain Injury on July 20th at which he hopes to clear up this misunderstanding.
In the mean time the bill will move to the House of Lords where we hope further amendments will be raised on acquired brain injury.
The full debate can be reviewed on Hansard at the following location https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2020-07-06/debates/CEAE6941-5DC8-4F76-9377-3DE3ED0F3553/DomesticAbuseBill and you can view Chris Bryant's speech here https://tinyurl.com/yddpjsxu
You can read also a paper produced by the Criminal Justice Acquired Brain Injury Interest Group on Domestic Abuse and Acquired Brain Injury here. (see attached)