On December 29th 2015 laws were introduced in the UK that recognise non violent domestic abuse as a crime. Coercive control can now result in a 5 year prison sentence. The laws have been seen as a positive step but will they make a difference to the lives of abused women?
The new law has had a mixed response from charities dealing with domestic abuse. Women’s Aid called it a landmark moment in tackling domestic abuse, however Refuge says the solution to the domestic abuse crisis does not lay in new laws. They say without training the police are unlikely to understand the complexities of coercive control.
What Is Coercive Control?
The government has guidelines that define coercive and controlling behaviour.
- Behaviour that has a serious alarm and distress and which has substantial adverse effects on day-to-day activities.
- Behaviour that causes the victim to believe on at least two occasions that violence will be used against them.
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