Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said: ‘Controlling or coercive behaviour can limit victims’ basic human rights, such as their freedom of movement and their independence.
‘This behaviour can be incredibly harmful in an abusive relationship where one person holds more power than the other, even if on the face of it this behaviour might seem playful, innocuous or loving.
‘Victims can be frightened of the repercussions of not abiding by someone else’s rules. Often they fear that violence will be used against them, or suffer from extreme psychological and emotional abuse.
‘Being subjected to repeated humiliation, intimidation or subordination can be as harmful as physical abuse, with many victims stating that trauma from psychological abuse had a more lasting impact than physical abuse.’
Polly Neate, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said introducing the law was a ‘landmark moment’ in tackling domestic abuse. ‘Coercive control is at the heart of domestic abuse,’ she said.
‘Perpetrators will usually start abusing their victim by limiting her personal freedoms, monitoring her every move, and stripping away her control of her life; physical violence often comes later.
‘Women’s Aid has campaigned to have this recognised in law, and we are thrilled that this has now happened.’ Continue reading on next page….