Coercive control has now been criminalised as an offence under section 76 of The Serious Crime Act 2015, which received royal assent in March 2015. The new offence will come into force on the 29th of December 2015.
The Government definitions outline the following:
- Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.
- Controlling behaviour is 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.
This criminalisation of psychologically abusive behaviour provides an important legal protection to domestic abuse victims, who have previously been left vulnerable when suffering from such non-physical abuse. The legislation is also undoubtedly an important step in ensuring that this particular form of abuse is more readily recognised and taken more seriously by criminal justice agencies such as the police.
By request from our clients and partners we have developed a training course which will help officers understand the impact of this new piece of legislation and how to use it to protect victims.
To find out more about our Coercive and Controlling Behaviour training course please click here