New Guidelines Issued on Domestic Abuse
The definition of domestic abuse has been widened to include what is called ‘co-ercive control’. The effect is that behaviour such as refusing a partner access to a phone or preventing a partner from leaving a house could lead to a prosecution. There is no specific criminal offence of domestic violence. Instead, a definition that refers to ‘incidents of threatening behaviour of violence or abuse’ was adopted in 2004. The definition has now been widened and it is hoped that victims can now be provided with the right support.
The changes will also mean that the law covers the under 18’s. Children’s charities have welcomed the plans to broaden the definition as it will provide protection for teenagers who have become involved in abusive relationships.
It is proposed that these changes will be implemented in March 2013.
Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg has said, ‘these changes are about the government taking a lead to help expose the true face of domestic violence, which is much more complex and much more wide spread than people often realise’. It remains to be seen whether the new definition will tackle the serious issue of domestic violence.
For advice on any issues relating to domestic violence, please contact Liz Hebden on 01756 700200 or email: [email protected]