News – Love-bombing’ included in guidance on abusive partners prosecution

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The guidance aims to make prosecutors aware of and “closely scrutinise” the actions of suspects who manipulate their partners to control their lives. Prosecutors have been warned about ‘love-bombing’ as a tactic abusive partners may use to confuse and control their victims, in updated guidance issued by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The guidance, published on Monday, looks at the need for prosecutors to “closely scrutinise” the actions of suspects who manipulate their partners to control their lives and take steps to disrupt or mislead criminal proceedings. ‘Love-bombing’ is described as seemingly loving acts such as sending flowers and gifts, texting and calling – among other behaviours – to assert control over their victims.

The guidance says prosecutors should consider whether these acts form part of the course of conduct. Other tactics listed in the guidance are suspects taking manipulative steps to disrupt the investigation, accusing the victim of “nagging”, exploiting the victim’s vulnerability – such as disability or immigration status – and altering behaviour.

When building a case, prosecutors must now consider how the offender’s actions have impacted the victim’s behaviour. The guidance sets out how prosecutors should look for evidence showing the changes a victim has made in their lifestyle. Prosecutors must also look at stalking, harassment and controlling or coercive behaviour alongside other available charges.

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