A new rule further protecting victims who would otherwise be subjected to sustained patterns of domestic abuse has now come into force in the UK.
The new coercive or controlling behaviour offence will carry a maximum of 5 years’ imprisonment, a fine or both.
Home Office said the new offence means victims who experience the type of behaviour that stops short of serious physical violence, but amounts to extreme psychological and emotional abuse, can bring their perpetrators to justice.
Minister for Preventing Abuse and Exploitation Karen Bradley said: “No one should live in fear of domestic abuse, which is why this government has made ending violence against women and girls a priority.
“Our new coercive or controlling behaviour offence will protect victims who would otherwise be subjected to sustained patterns of abuse that can lead to total control of their lives by the perpetrator.
“We are sending a clear message that it is wrong to violate the trust of those closest to you and that emotional and controlling abuse will not be tolerated.”
Coercive or controlling behaviour does not relate to a single incident, it is a purposeful pattern of incidents that occur over time in order for one individual to exert power, control or coercion over another.
Home Office said the new offence sends a clear message that it is wrong to violate the trust of those closest to you, providing better protection to victims experiencing continuous abuse and allowing for earlier identification, intervention and prevention.