There has been quite a bit in the media this last week about coercive control and the new offence of coercive control that was introduced last December. It is an insidious form of domestic abuse - emotional/psychological abuse - and quite frequently the victim, who is by no means a "pathetic" victim but can be a strong person, may be unaware that they are such a victim. Alternatively, they might shut their eyes to the same. Nevertheless, it is a form of domestic abuse and if we, at Freeths, see someone who describes behaviour that seems to fit the bill, we would always talk to them sympathetically and encourage them to have the courage of their convictions. If this behaviour is causing them distress or upset then they may just need to talk about it to realise that they want to get out of that relationship and we are committed to assisting people to do so with as little trauma as possible. That, of course, is not always so easy with a controlling partner.

3.1 Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 - Controlling or Coercive Behaviour in an Intimate or Family Relationship

Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 created a new offence of controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship. Prior to the introduction of this offence, case law indicated the difficulty in proving a pattern of behaviour amounting to harassment within an intimate relationship (the Statutory Guidance cites the following cases - Curtis [2010] EWCA Crim 123 and Widdows [2011] EWCA Crim 1500).

The new offence, which does not have retrospective effect, came into force on 29 December 2015.

An offence is committed by A if: