Five years in jail for men who ’emotionally bully’ wives (Now End)

Crime: Bulling behaviour includes stopping your partner accessing bank accounts, refusing to pay money for child support, or limiting their means of escape by taking their passport or car keys (file photo)

Police and prosecutors will be expected to take action against those who trap their partners in a manner that Home Secretary Theresa May has described as ‘tantamount to torture’.

Coercive behaviour is defined as an ‘act or pattern of acts which are used to harm, punish or frighten a victim’. The offence was part of the Serious Crime Act 2015, which was passed by Parliament earlier this year.

In order for the offence to apply, a culprit’s behaviour must have a ‘serious effect’ on the victim. Home Office guidance says this involves causing someone ‘serious alarm or distress which has a substantial effect on their usual day-to-day activities’.

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