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Controlling or coercive behaviour now a crime

Paul Walters, Solicitor and Mediator in Astle Paterson’s Family Department discusses a change in the law which is designed to protect victims of domestic abuse.

Paul said “For some time there has been a gap in the law around domestic abuse – specifically there has not been any law to protect people in a relationship from a partner who displays controlling or coercive behaviour.

The Serious Crime Act 2015 seeks to address this issue and as a result, should your partner frequently subject you to such behaviour, they could be committing a criminal offence.

The Crown Prosecution Service’s guidance states that in the context of the new law, controlling or coercive behaviour is defined as a “a purposeful pattern of behaviour which takes place over time in order for one individual to exert power, control of coercion over another”.”

The guidance goes on to explain that:-

• Controlling behaviour can be a range of acts designed to make a person feel subordinate and/or dependant and may include isolating the other person from sources of support, depriving them of means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.
• Coercive behaviour can be a continuing act or pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten the other person.

At Astle Paterson we have a number of experienced specialist family and divorce lawyers who can provide you with empathetic legal advice where a relationship has broken down under difficult circumstances.

Should you wish to discuss matters further with Paul, then please contact him on either 01283 531366 or by way of email to his secretary, Helen Shipley at hshipley@astlepaterson.co.uk.

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