The introduction last year of the new domestic abuse criminal offence of ‘coercive or controlling behaviour’ was a big step in the battle against domestic abuse.
In my professional experience, all too often, years of sustained, damaging, traumatic abuse is overlooked by professionals generally and not just the police, because of the lack of physical violence. Convictions under this law will greatly assist in changing that.
Whilst it is concerning that the number of convictions under this new offence have been underwhelming to date, it is really encouraging to see that prompt action is being taken to review the police’s attitude towards investigating coercive control, and to provide them with proper training to spot behaviour which by its very nature is almost always surreptitious.
'We know in some cases of coercive control that violence is threatened in combination with surveillance and other tactics of intimidation which allow perpetrators to exert almost complete control over a victim's life without recourse to physical violence.
'This pilot will assist front-line officers in identifying patterns of abusive behaviour and, in particular, it will help improve officers' understanding of the risks around coercive control.