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New law for domestic abuse put in place

5th January 2016

New law implemented for domestic abuse cases

A new law has come into force in the UK that would see domestic abusers who control victims on social media or online face a prison sentence of up to five years. The law was brought in at the very end of 2015.

Those working as lawyers, solicitors and in other legal jobs and positions need to be aware of this new legislation, which aims to target abusers who use psychological and emotional abuse but do not use violence.

This new law means that cases that show evidence of repeated controlling or intimidating behaviour can now carry a jail sentence.

A range of abuses covered

The legislation covers a lot of different types of abuse, such as continued humiliation, intimidation, threats, surveillance of a person’s apps and social media accounts, controlling what someone wears and continually stopping a person from socialising.

In an article on the BBC, the director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, added, “Controlling or coercive behaviour can limit victims' basic human rights, such as their freedom of movement and their independence.

“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.

“These new powers mean this behaviour, which is particularly relevant to cases of domestic abuse, can now be prosecuted in its own right.”

People working in solicitor and lawyer jobs should be aware that cases related to this new law will be heard in the magistrates’ or crown courts with evidence varying from bank records to emails.

The Home Office have announced that the controlling behaviour that has been alleged must have made the victim fear violence, have suffered huge distress or have been caused serious alarm by the actions of another.

To find out more about the offence and the new law, visit the Home Office website.

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