Definition of domestic abuse widened to include non-violent control
Published: 21 September 2012
- 19 September 2012
Emotional abuse, controlling someone's life financially or by restricting their freedom is also domestic abuse
The definition of domestic abuse will be widened to cover psychological intimidation and controlling behaviour, and will apply to victims under the age 18.
It means acts such as preventing partners from leaving the house or having access to a phone could lead to a prosecution.
The Home Office says more prosecutions could be brought as a result.
Javed Khan, Chief Executive of Victim Support, said: "We welcome that teenage victims of domestic violence aged 16-17 will now be officially recognised, as our evidence informs us that incidents of abuse in this age bracket have increased. Teenagers suffering domestic abuse can often find it hard to identify, report and escape abuse in intimate relationships so it is vital they have access to the support they need.
"Moving coercion under the umbrella of domestic violence should also help victims recognise they are in an abusive relationship faster, helping to reduce the risk of further incidents and in some cases physical violence. By making this important change to the law, there is however a necessity to ensure that different service options are available and accessible to those seeking support.
"This new definition of domestic violence will affect the way it is recorded so we can see the real picture and work together to identify better ways to tackle it."
The changes, which will be implemented in March 2013, follow calls from local authorities, police and – voluntary organisations.