Law strengthened to protect abuse victims
Coercive and controlling behaviour can include the abuser preventing their victim from having friendships or hobbies, refusing them access to money and determining many aspects of their everyday life, such as when they are allowed to eat and sleep.
There have been a number of laws which cover violence, stalking and harassment, but this is the first that places emphasis on actions that can dominate a victim's life.
The victim told the Herald: “Looking back, I don’t know how I managed as I was on constant high alert, always assessing, always planning, always appeasing — just surviving, not living. I finally left when the abuse became physical, if this law had been in place when I was being coerced and controlled it may never have become physical.”
It is believed there are around 9,000 victims of domestic violence and abuse each year in Warwickshire — a figure that does not take into account children in violent relationships.
Warwickshire County Council has been carrying out an anonymous online survey to try to get a true picture of the scale and effect of domestic violence.
The findings will be published early in the new year as part of a Domestic Violence and Abuse Needs Assessment. The council said the survey, which closed on Sunday, will give it a better understanding og the needs of those affected to ensure services are as effective as possible.
Cllr John Horner, the council’s portfolio holder for community safety, said: “Sadly, we know the 9,000 figure is likely to be an under-estimate as many people don’t come forward and some don’t recognise their experiences as domestic violence and abuse.
“With such grave statistics it is vital that we do all we can to understand the experiences of those living with violence and abuse in order to improve the support and protection we provide and prevent future harm.”
Taranjit Chana, senior client services manager for the Home Group, Warwickshire Domestic Abuse Service, said of the new law: “We hope it will support individuals to become more confident in reporting the abuse.”