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‘Coercive control should be criminalised,’ say victims of domestic violence

Survey respondents call unanimously for mandatory training of CPS and judiciary

The Domestic Violence Law Reform Campaign has 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 Campaign, made up of Paladin, the national stalking advocacy service; the Sara Charlton Charitable Foundation; and national domestic violence charity Women's Aid, are urging the reforms in light of a survey demonstrating the inability of the current system to respond appropriately to intimate partner violence.

The survey states:

In light of these figures, the campaigners are calling for 'coercive control', patterns of behaviour and causing psychological harm to be criminalised, to ensure the statutory response to domestic violence reflects both the Home Office definition and the reality of violent relationships.

Laura Richards, Director of Paladin, said:

"It is possible for the law to criminalise a course of conduct and move beyond physical injury; stalking laws now allow the criminal justice system to take account of patterns of controlling behaviour after a relationship has ended, but often this is far too late for victims as the behaviour has been allowed to escalate. We now need to apply the same standard to domestic violence. The legislative framework must change to take account of a course of conduct, target patterns and address a broad range of harm and focus more on early intervention and prevention and to better protect victims."

The full report can be downloaded from this page.

7/3/14