New ‘coercion’ crime hits the statute books, and police say possible five year jail term will help them tackle abuse

Coercive and controlling behaviour often underpins incidents in abusive relationships.

Coercive and controlling behaviour often underpins incidents in abusive relationships. - Credit: Archant

Police have welcomed a new weapon in the battle against domestic abuse as coercive and controlling behaviour is now classified as a crime which can result in a jail sentence of up to five years.

Coercive behaviour often underpins incidents in abusive relationships and tends to escalate over time with perpetrators becoming more dominant.

Det Insp Aaron Kiff, who heads the Bedfordshire police domestic abuse investigation and safeguarding unit, said: “Curtailing the freedom of another person and causing distress and damage is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

“The new criminal offence is a significant step forward in strengthening the law around domestic abuse.

“It can often be this behaviour that prevents victims coming forward and inflicts a life of fear, isolation and intimidation. Young people are particularly vulnerable to controlling abuse and can find it difficult to recognise they are being subjected to this behaviour.


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“We are committed to tackling domestic abuse and welcome the introduction of important tools which can help us further protect victims and enable us to enforce action on perpetrators, bringing those responsible to justice.”

Anyone who is subjected to abuse or is concerned for a friend or loved one should contact police in confidence on 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.

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