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Posted 11 January 2016
by Aimee Aspinall

Coercive or controlling behaviour now a crime

Victims of domestic abuse are now able to seek protection under a new offence which came into force on 29 December 2015.

Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 introduces a new offence of coercive or controlling behaviour.It means that victims who experience the type of controlling behaviour (short of physical violence) amounting to extreme psychological and emotional abuse can seek protection under this Act.

This type of abuse in either family or intimate relationships can include:

  • Treats
  • Humiliation/intimidation
  • Behaviour such as stopping a partner socializing
  • Controlling social media accounts
  • Surveillance through apps
  • Dictating what a partner wears

Coercive or controlling behaviour causes someone either to fear that violence will be used against them (on at least 2 occasions) or serious alarm or distress which has a substantial effect on their day-to-day life.

The offence will carry a maximum of 5 years’ imprisonment, a fine or both.

If you are experiencing difficulties with a partner and recognise any of the above in your own relationship, please contact our South West domestic abuse solicitors.

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About the author

Aimee Aspinall

Chartered Legal Executive

Chartered Legal Executive in the Exeter family team