Consultation – Home Office – Open consultation: Controlling or coercive behaviour statutory guidance


The Home Office is consulting on the updated controlling or coercive behaviour statutory guidance.

This consultation closes at

Respond online here.

Consultation description

Section 68 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 (the 2021 Act) amended the definition of ‘’personally connected’’ in section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 (the 2015 Act). This removed the ‘’living together’’ requirement, which means that the offence of controlling or coercive behaviour will apply to partners, ex-partners or family members, regardless of whether the victim and perpetrator live together.

The amendment to the controlling or coercive behaviour offence will come into force later this year. The controlling or coercive behaviour statutory guidance has been updated in accordance with the changes made to the offence, to reflect wider measures within the 2021 Act and the accompanying domestic abuse statutory guidance, as well as other relevant guidance and training material for frontline agencies.

This consultation seeks views on the updated draft controlling or coercive behaviour statutory guidance. This consultation will be open for 8 weeks.

The key objectives of the guidance are to:

  • provide clear information on what constitutes controlling or coercive behaviour and how to identify the offence
  • provide guidance to the police and other criminal justice agencies on circumstances where the offence will apply and where other offences might be considered
  • provide guidance to the police and criminal justice agencies on the different types of evidence that can support in identifying, evidencing and charging the offence, and how this should support prosecutions and sentencing
  • provide information on reducing risk to the victim, including using protection orders; supporting the victim; and responding to the perpetrator’s behaviour

The guidance is primarily aimed at police and criminal justice agencies in England and Wales involved in the investigation of criminal behaviour. However, information contained in this guidance is also relevant to organisations and agencies working with victims (including children) or perpetrators of domestic abuse, and to those dealing with the other consequences of domestic abuse, such as financial institutions. Some of these organisations may have statutory duties to safeguard victims of domestic abuse.

The guidance extends to England and to Wales insofar as it relates to reserved or non-devolved matters in Wales.

The consultation is aimed at:

  • adult social care and children’s social care providers
  • community and faith groups
  • criminal justice services, including courts, prisons, police forces, police and crime commissioners and the Crown Prosecution Service
  • early years, childcare, schools, colleges and higher education settings
  • employers and jobcentres
  • English local authorities
  • financial services (banks, building societies and so on)
  • healthcare sector
  • local housing and homelessness teams, registered social landlords
  • services for forms of violence against women and girls including any specialist domestic abuse services (this will include services serving men and boys)
  • any other interested stakeholders, including victims and users of support and prevention services

The statutory guidance is issued under section 77 of the 2015 Act. Any persons or agency investigating offences in relation to controlling or coercive behaviour under section 76 of the 2015 Act must have regard to it.

Respond online here.

British Sign Language users

You can view or download the consultation in British Sign Language. If you want to enquire about submitting a British Sign Language video consultation response, email

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