New Domestic Abuse Law introduced

Under a new law which came into force on 29 December 2015, domestic abusers who subject victims to controlling or coercive behaviour can face up five years imprisonment. 

Under the new law, the Crown Prosecution Service can for the first time prosecute specific offences of domestic abuse if there is evidence of repeated, continuous, controlling or coercive behaviour.

Coercive behaviour can include an act or pattern of acts of assaults, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten their victim.

Controlling behaviour includes a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour. 

The type of abuse in an intimate or family relationship can include a pattern of threats, humiliation and intimidations, or behaviour such as stopping or changing the way someone socialises, limiting access to family, friends and finances, controlling their social media accounts, surveillance through apps on mobile devices, dictating what they wear, repeatedly putting them down such as telling them they are worthless and humiliating and embarrassing the victim. 

 Such controlling coercive behaviour which causes someone either to:

• to fear that violence will be used against them on at least two occasions; or

• serious alarm or distress which has a substantial effect on their usual day to day activities.

Evidence in these cases can include copies of emails, GPS tracking devices installed on mobile phones (etc.), bank records, witness statements from family and friends and isolation.

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us on 0330 123 1229.