There has been a positive response to the introduction of the new offence of coercive controlling behaviour that came into force on 29 December 2015 as part of the Serious Crime Act 2015.
As National Adviser for Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence I welcome the introduction of the new offence.
Coercive controlling behaviour is a reality for individuals experiencing domestic abuse, impacting upon and affecting their day to day lives. Repeated patterns of coercive, controlling behaviour by a partner or family member can lead to isolation, fear and distress.
The introduction of the new law was widely reported in the national media. BCC News said:
“Domestic abusers who control victims via social media or spy on them online could face up to five years in prison under a new law which is now in force.
The legislation will target those who subject spouses, partners and family members to psychological and emotional torment but stop short of violence.” Read More
The challenge going forward will be to raise awareness among the general public that coercive control is unacceptable and now, an offence; and through doing so encourage individuals to report such behaviours at an earlier stage.
It is imperative that professionals, especially the police and those working in the wider criminal justice system now receive the necessary training on the new offence to recognise and respond appropriately in order to keep individuals and families safe.
The proposed Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence National Training Framework will provide consistent, quality training for those working across public services. As part of my role I will encourage the Police and other non-devolved agencies who are not directly covered by the statutory guidance to align their training requirements to the Framework in order to improve responses to all individuals experiencing any form of gender based violence.
For full details of the legislation, click here for a PDF from the Government.