A Bill ensuring victims of domestic abuse can receive child maintenance without contact from their abuser has received Royal Assent.

The Child Support Collection (Domestic Abuse) Act 2023 will allow the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to intervene in cases where abuse is evident, using its powers to collect and make payments.

Named Collect and Pay, it is already used by 37% of parents using the CMS. It provides extra protections for parents who have experienced domestic abuse by managing payments and avoiding the need for contact – preventing perpetrators from inflicting financial abuse and control.

Work and pensions minister, Viscount Younger of Leckie said: “Domestic abuse and coercive control are abhorrent crimes. This positive change will enhance our existing support for domestic abuse victims and ensure they can make a child maintenance claim without the fear of having to deal with an abusive ex-partner.”

The law will build on the CMS’s existing procedures to protect both paying and receiving parents who are vulnerable to domestic abuse, ensuring more children in separated families are supported. The Bill was taken through Parliament by Sally-Ann Hart MP and Lord Farmer, with support from the government.

The change follows recommendations by a leading expert on domestic abuse, Dr Samantha Callan, who led an independent review into the CMS’s support for victims.

Dr Samantha Callan said: “I am heartened that the government have so quickly legislated to strengthen support for parents experiencing domestic abuse following my Review. This extra layer of protection for both parents and children was an important one of my recommendations to build on the CMS’s substantial reform in this area.”

Another government-backed Bill – the Child Support (Enforcement) Bill – which is soon also to become law, will simplify the court process of recouping child maintenance arrears, while continuing to protect paying parents’ appeal rights. This change in this Bill will make it easier and quicker for the CMS to take enforcement action and recoup money owed to families.

Together these changes will significantly strengthen the CMS’s existing support for vulnerable families.