The Home Secretary recently (20 August 2014) announced plans to criminalise domestic abuse which doesn’t involve violence, but comprises of bullying and intimidation behind closed doors.
More specifically, if individuals show an identifiable pattern of bullying, causing psychological harm, or intimidating their partners, they could face prison. Exact details are yet to be set out, but examples of behaviour which may warrant prosecution under the new system is humiliating or frightening a partner, keeping them away from their friends and family, or denying them money as a form of control.
Caroline Louise Bolton said: As an ex victim, for over 8 years, of domestic abuse and now a voluntary fund-raiser for IDAS (the domestic abuse service) I wholeheartedly welcome the proposal of making the act of mental abuse a criminal offence.
I live with the battle of what was said to me, how it hurt my children, I fight the memories, I will to a degree always pay for what my abuser did and said to me and my children, while he walks his life free with no accountability, how can this be justice!
The 15 page consultation setting out the plans in more detail can be seen on the Home Office website.
This follows a recent announcement from the Police and Crime Commissioner, Julia Mulligan of a 140% increase in funding of independent domestic and sexual violence advisors, which would see up to 570 extra victims receiving support each year. An additional £303,200, money which was won by Julia Mulligan after bidding into a Ministry of Justice funding pot, means that support can now be provided to scores more victims of domestic abuse and other serious crimes countywide.
Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire commented: Having heard the personal stories of many victims of domestic abuse over the last few years, it is clear that more needs to be done not only about violence, but also non-violent abusive behaviour. Albeit the full detail isn’t known, on the face of it this looks like a positive step forward for victims of domestic abuse.
If one partner is controlling another via a mixture of threats and intimidation, that is no less serious than physical violence. The mental distress caused can be enormous.
The services I am commissioning as of next year will be offering more services to more victims, which is really good news. However, it takes joint working from a range of different partners to prevent domestic abuse, increase the confidence of victims to report crimes, as well as reduce the number of victims overall.