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Government plans to strengthen domestic violence laws to better support victims of psychological and emotional abuse are partly about sending a message "that this is a crime, we are taking it seriously", a Home Office minister told Good Morning Britain.
Norman Baker MP said this would give victims the confidence to come forwards.
The damage inflicted by coercive behaviour in relationships is "too often overlooked", according to the Shadow Home Secretary.
Yvette Cooper welcomed the launch of a consultation on strengthening the domestic violence law, but said the Government still needs to do more.
The criminal justice system needs to recognise the damage done by repeated psychological abuse and coercive control which is too often overlooked - the Government's agreement to this consultation is a welcome tribute to those who have campaigned hard for change.
But Theresa May just isn't doing enough to reverse the backwards slide in action against domestic violence or support for victims on her watch.
Prosecutions and convictions as a proportion of recorded domestic crime are falling. And over the last four years over 10,000 perpetrators of domestic violence have been handed only community resolutions, with many simply being asked to apologise to their victim.
Coercive and controlling behaviour in relationships could become just as criminal as physical abuse, under a proposed new law.
The Government have put a new offence of 'domestic abuse' out for consultation.
Launched by Home Secretary Theresa May, the consultation will consider whether the current law needs to be strengthened to better protect victims of psychological and emotional abuse.
The offence will cover behaviour such as threatening a partner with violence, cutting them off from friends and family, or refusing them access to money.
Under existing law, intimidation of this kind is covered by legislation that covers stalking and harassment, but this does not explicitly apply to intimate relationships.
The Director of Public Prosecutions has said she is "incredibly proud" of the rise in the conviction rate for domestic violence in recent years.
Alison Saunders said: "I hope victims of these terrible offences will take some confidence from this, and that perpetrators will take note."
She said she was pleased so many cases were now settled by offenders pleading guilty, meaning "the vast majority of victims are spared having to give evidence in court".
She also hailed the high conviction rate for offences involving women and girls, saying: ""I am incredibly proud of what the CPS has achieved in recent years in tackling violence against women and girls."
A record three in four prosecutions for domestic violence last year ended in a conviction, the Crown Prosecution has revealed.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, will later announce that in 74.6% of cases defendants either admitted the offences or were found guilty.
The total number of convictions in 2013/14 was just under 60,000, up almost 10% on the figure for 2012/13.
The longer term picture shows a steady rise in conviction rates, which have gone from 59.7% in 2005 to just under 75% in the last year.
According to CPS figures, domestic violence - which covers a wide range of abusive behaviours between partners, spouses and family members - now makes up over a tenth of the Service's casework.