26th May, 2019

'Coercive control' could get five years behind bars

Lorna Morris 23rd Jan, 2016 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

A NEW law on domestic violence has been introduced which takes action against emotional abuse.

Now illegal to exercise “coercive control” against a partner or family member, offenders will be subject to a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a fine, or both.

Coercive and controlling behaviour can include the abuser preventing their victim from having friendships or hobbies, refusing them access to money and determining many aspects of their everyday life, such as when they are allowed to eat and sleep.

Alison, whose real name has not been used to protect her identity, wishes that the law had been introduced when she was repeatedly emotionally abused by her partner.

She said: “My message to anyone suffering from any kind of abuse is to tell someone, a friend, police or a support agency.

“I still bear emotional scars, I still cry quietly and wish my children didn’t have to suffer and feel guilty that they may have a distorted view of what a healthy relationship is, but I’ve broken the cycle of abuse and feel stronger, wiser and more resilient.

“I know what I want from life and strive to achieve because I believe in myself.”

Det Chief Insp Vikki Reay from Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police said: “We want to encourage anyone affected by domestic violence and abuse to seek help from the police or other partner agencies.

“Domestic abuse takes many forms and ultimately is about control, so this new law addressing coercive control should increase confidence in reporting abuse. Please do not keep it to yourself as this isolates you, which is what your partner wants as this increases their control over you, tell someone, your closest friend or someone you trust who can help you decide what to do next.”

Visit West Mercia Police website, call the police on 101, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, in an emergency, always call 999.

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