DOMESTIC abuse comes in many forms and involves different specific crimes, each one serious in their own right.

The call to have domestic abuse included as a specific offence will not diminish the other crimes but add to the weight of the crime and the seriousness with which it is viewed by the courts.

There are many other crimes with an additional element added to charges to recognise religious or racial hatred which puts an added dimension on to the specific crime.

In recent years there has been greater reporting of domestic abuse and victims can have more confidence they will be taken seriously as the police and courts aim to bring more prosecutions and secure convictions.

More work is still required to assist and protect the large number of victims, mainly women, who are still unable to come forward and seek help.

Any new measure which can make the law and sentencing of domestic abuse more robust must be welcomed.

This move can recognise the, sometimes years of trauma women suffer at the hands of a violent and controlling partner and take that into account as well as the specific crimes of serious assault, rape, attempted murder, and even murder, and hopefully stop them from reaching those stages.