Domestic abuse victims who do not live with abuser 'to get better protection'

Legal protection against domestic abuse will now be broader. Credit: PA

Victims of controlling or coercive behaviour from their current or ex-partners will receive better protection against threats and intimidation, even if they don't live together, the government has announced.

The controlling or coercive behaviour offence has been extended to cover victims who do not live with the family member or ex-partner abusing them.

Controlling or coercive behaviour was introduced as a criminal offence in the Serious Crime Act 2015 and can include economic, emotional or psychological abuse and threats alongside physical or sexual violence.

More than half (51%) of murder cases looked at in an independent review published last month involved controlling or coercive behaviour.

Abuse can continue after victims separate from an abusive partner, or get worse as the perpetrator wants to keep control over their victim.

The new guidance will help identify offences and help police and other agencies understand how to gather evidence.

More than half of murder cases looked at in an independent review involved controlling or coercive behaviour. Credit: PA

The guidance will also provide clearer advice to support victims and advice on how to safely identify and respond to threats, intimidation, manipulation and other forms of controlling or coercive behaviour.

The government hopes the new measures will help increase the number of successful prosecutions for the crime.

Safeguarding minister Sarah Dines said: "Controlling or coercive behaviour is an abhorrent crime that I am determined to tackle.

"Victims’ safety is paramount, and this updated guidance will offer wider protection to victims and will support the police to bring more perpetrators to justice.”

Helping to launch the new guidelines, Love Island star Malin Andersson said: "As a survivor of abuse, it’s so important to me that the government are taking action to tackle coercive or controlling behaviour because it’s not spoken about enough.

"The psychological trauma of being in an abusive relationship can make victims feel very isolated.

"This new guidance will help those people to know just what coercive or controlling behaviour is and to come forward and report it."

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