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Following 8 months speculation of what the new Domestic Abuse Draft bill will look like, the Government has now published it’s 196 page draft bill.

The Domestic Abuse Draft bill aims to provide better links between statutory, voluntary and charitable services, who support victims of domestic abuse.

The Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, Victoria Atkins said:

“The draft Domestic Abuse Bill recognises the complex nature of these horrific crimes and puts the needs of victims and their families at the forefront.”

“This government is absolutely committed to shining a light on domestic abuse to ensure this hidden crime does not remain in the shadows.”

The draft bill is split into five parts and one of these parts includes the definition that will be “based on the one proposed in the consultation”, which states:

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexual orientation. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to: psychological, physical, sexual, economic and emotional forms of abuse. Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape, and regulating their everyday behaviour. Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten a person.

The above definition extends its arm to include acts of non-violent behaviours recognising economic abuse, as being an element of coercive and controlling behaviour.

The legislation of coercive control became effective from December 2015, but only 300 cases have reached the first court hearing date so far. When this definition becomes legislation, it will enable victims of every form of abuse to obtain protective orders.

Ms Atkins, who is also the government’s minister for women, said the reason for broadening the law was that “economic abuse can be a terrible form of abuse” and part of a pattern of oppression lasting many years."

She added: “It can range from anything from controlling bank accounts or taking loans out in her name without her knowledge, or stealing her car keys in the morning so she can’t get to work on time and loses her job and therefore her financial independence."

“In terms of the controlling aspect, for someone to tell someone else that they are not allowed to work - that’s exerting an extraordinary level of control over their lives."

“In this bill, we make it very clear that this sort of coercive controlling behaviour that we see so often in domestic abuse, sadly, is just as unlawful as acts of physical violence.”"

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Ramsdens Specialist Domestic Abuse team will offer you a confidential, sympathetic ear, whilst advising you of your legal position; including the best method of protecting yourself from further harm.

Call our family helpline on 08000 147720, send us an email or text LAW to 67777 to book a free information session at any of our offices.