The Home Office has announced a consultation which could see coercive and controlling behaviour towards a partner become a criminal offence.
Whilst such behaviour can already form part of the harrassment and stalking legislation the report noted that police failed to see domestic abuse, particularly in a non violent form as a serious crime.
The latest statistics reported in the Crime Survey for England and Wales suggested that 30% of women and 16% of men will experience domestic abuse during their lifetimes.
Home Secretary Theresa May said that “domestic abuse happens every day in homes across England and Wales. In every community there are people living in fear of those closest to them. There is now widespread understanding that domestic abuse is not just about violence. Coercive, controlling behaviour can be harder to recognise but can have an equally devastating impact on its victims”.
The consultation will close in October.
Andrew Lobb is an Associate at Stephens Scown LLP and is part of the St Austell family solicitors team. Andrew can be contacted on 01726 74433, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.stephens-scown.co.uk