The Government must strengthen new legislation on domestic abuse and make “the difference between life and death” for victims, the London Assembly has said.

A new bill, introduced yesterday (Tuesday, July 16) in Parliament, provides the first government definition of abuse and aims to strengthen support for victims.

It lays out plans for a Domestic Abuse Commissioner to champion victims’ needs, as well as new police orders to ensure offenders are kept away from victims and compelled to get help.

The legislation also provides better protection for victims giving evidence in court, and guarantees safe accommodation for those escaping abusive homes.

But according to London Assembly members, the Government must go further and set up a register of abusers – similar to the sex offenders register.

Domestic abuse in the capital has increased 63 per cent in seven years, with almost 80,000 incidents reported to police last year.

Assembly Member Len Duvall, the spokesperson on the issue, said providing stronger victim protections was essential.

He said: “Now the Domestic Abuse Bill has been presented, it’s time to get on and do the right thing to protect the vulnerable from serial abusers.

“The new Prime Minister needs to see the logic of a register and we call on him to give potential victims access to vital information about the partners they are beginning a relationship with.

“Having access to this information could mean the difference between life and death.”

Victoria Atkins MP, the minister responsible for the bill, said the Government must act to tackle domestic abuse.

Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme,  she revealed that both Conservative leadership candidates – one of whom will be the next Prime Minister – support the legislation.

Ms Atkins also defended the bill's wide definition of abuse – which includes physical, mental, economic and emotional manipulation.

She said: “The point of the definition is to raise awareness among those who haven’t experienced abuse either directly or indirectly, that domestic abuse can take many forms.”