‘Victims can be frightened of the repercussions of not abiding by someone else’s rules. Often they fear that violence will be used against them, or suffer from extreme psychological and emotional abuse.
‘Being subjected to repeated humiliation, intimidation or subordination can be as harmful as physical abuse, with many victims stating that trauma from psychological abuse had a more lasting impact than physical abuse.’
Polly Neate, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said introducing the law was a ‘landmark moment’ in tackling domestic abuse. ‘Coercive control is at the heart of domestic abuse,’ she said.
‘Perpetrators will usually start abusing their victim by limiting her personal freedoms, monitoring her every move, and stripping away her control of her life; physical violence often comes later.
‘Women’s Aid has campaigned to have this recognised in law, and we are thrilled that this has now happened.’
Prosecutors will be able to secure convictions using documentary evidence, such as threatening emails and text messages, and bank statements that show an abuser has sought to control the victim financially.