News – Victims of domestic abuse better protected from Controlling or Coercive behaviour

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Victims of Controlling or Coercive behaviour who do not live with their abuser will receive better protection thanks to changes coming into effect April 5th. The Controlling or Coercive behaviour offence has been extended to cover victims who do not live with the family member or ex-partner abusing them in order for the offence of Controlling or Coercive behaviour to apply.  Controlling or coercive behaviour was introduced as a criminal offence in the Serious Crime Act 2015 and can include economic, emotional or psychological abuse and threats alongside physical or sexual violence.

More than half (51%) of murder cases looked at in an independent review published last month involved controlling or coercive behaviour. Abuse can continue after victims separate with an abusive partner, or get worse as the perpetrator wants to keep control over their victim, the Government says.

New guidance, put together with help from charities, police and legal experts, and domestic abuse victims, will help identify offences and help police and other agencies understand how to gather evidence. The guidance will also provide clearer advice to support victims and advice on how to safely identify and respond to threats, intimidation, manipulation and other forms of controlling or coercive behaviour.

The Government hopes the new measures will help increase the number of successful prosecutions for the crime. Safeguarding minister Sarah Dines said: “Controlling or coercive behaviour is an abhorrent crime that I am determined to tackle.

“Victims’ safety is paramount, and this updated guidance will offer wider protection to victims and will support the police to bring more perpetrators to justice.”


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