Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 created a new offence of controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship. The Act came into force on December 29th 2015 and the offence is punishable with a maximum prison sentence of five years.
What is the Criteria for the Offence of Coercive & Controlling Behaviour?
The following is the criteria for the offence of coercive and controlling behaviour
- the behaviour must take place “repeatedly or continuously”
- the individuals must have been personally connected (i.e. in a relationship) when the behaviour took place
- the behaviour must have a serious effect on the victim
- the perpetrator must have or ought to have known that the behaviour would have a serious effect on the victim.
What Amounts to Coercive & Controlling Behaviour?
Controlling and coercive behaviour can include but is not limited to:
- Isolating a person from friends and family
- Depriving them of their basic needs
- Monitoring a person using spyware or other tools
- Taking control over aspects of their everyday life, such as what they can wear or when they can sleep
- Depriving them access to support or medical services
- Repeatedly putting them down
- Make rules that will humiliate, degrade or dehumanise the victim
- Forcing the victim to take part in criminal activity
- Controlling finances
- Control ability to go to school or place of study
- Taking wages, benefits or allowances
- Threats to hurt or kill
- Threats to harm a child or a family pet
- Threats to reveal private or medical information
- Destroying property, such as household furniture
- Preventing a person from working
- Reputational damage
Possible Defences for Coercive & Controlling Behaviour
It is possible to plead you were acting in the best interest of the victim, if you can show the behaviour was reasonable in the circumstances. The court’s test for reasonable behaviour is whether a reasonable person, given the same circumstances, would have done the same.
When allegations of domestic abuse are made, it has a massive impact on family life. The accused person is often prohibited from staying at their home address, or having any contact with the alleged victim. With such a stressful time, it is important that you have a solicitor who is available to discuss your case when you need that support, as well as one who will fight for you in Court. The solicitors at Stephen Lickrish & Associates have experience representing people in Greater Manchester, the North West, and throughout the country. We can advise on the best way to prepare and present your case, and will work tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome for you.
Domestic Violence Solicitors in Manchester, London, Birmingham, England & Wales
Offering specialist advice and representation on cases of Domestic Violence, Stephen Lickrish & Associates Solicitors in Manchester, London, Birmingham, England & Wales can help. Contact us today by calling us at 0161 237 1913 or on 0800 988 64 22 for 24-hour legal advice. Alternatively, contact us by filling out an enquiry form.