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Coercive control could be criminalised


consultation opens, domestic violence,  cruel and controlling behaviour to be criminalConsultation on reconciling criminal law with the Home Office definition of domestic violence opens.

The Domestic Violence Law Reform Campaign celebrated a victory when the Government announced that it was opening a consultation on strengthening the law on domestic abuse.

There is currently a gap between the Home Office’s updated definition of domestic violence, which now includes coercive control (a systematic pattern of abuse and control), and criminal law, which only prohibits incidents of physical injury.

Home Secretary Theresa May announced the consultation, saying ‘The government is clear that abuse is not just physical.

‘Victims who are subjected to a living hell by their partners must have the confidence to come forward, [and] I want perpetrators to be in no doubt that their cruel and controlling behaviour is criminal.’

Following the publication in March this year of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary’s (HMIC) report that found that the police response to domestic abuse not good enough, with ‘alarming and unacceptable weaknesses in some core policing activity,’ the Domestic Violence Law Reform Campaign released a report calling for the Government to ‘close gaps in the law around domestic violence which allow perpetrators to avoid prosecution for their abusive behaviour.’

The consultation is open until 15 October 2014, and the governments says that is ‘is particularly interested to hear from people who have experienced domestic abuse and from the experts who work with them.’

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