LONDON — People who use repeated threats, humiliation and intimidation to control their intimate partners or family members could face prosecution in England and Wales under a law which became effective on Tuesday.
"Coercive or controlling"
Central government guidance for police enforcement published earlier in December says it closes a gap in existing laws, and quotes a 2007 report suggesting that coercive control is the most common and dangerous way in which women are abused.
Controlling or coercive
Authorities say stopping someone from socializing, controlling their social media access or using apps or spyware to put them under surveillance will be covered by the new legislation. It is supposed to apply only in cases where the offending
The guidance says making threats to publish personal information — it mentions "outing" someone as a prime example — can also be viewed as criminal
Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders says this type of
Many victims say the trauma from psychological abuse is worse than the trauma of physical abuse, Saunders said.
The new legislation was created after a majority of people consulted by the government said that existing abuse laws did not offer sufficient protection.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Women's Aid, said in a statement that the advocacy group is "thrilled" with the new law. She said coercive control is at the heart of domestic abuse.
"Perpetrators will usually start abusing their victim by limiting her personal freedoms, monitoring her every move and stripping away her control of her life," she said. "Physical violence often comes later."
Gregory Katz, The Associated Press