New powers to combat domestic abuse

Josie Hayes web

By Josephine Hayes

At the end of 2015 the Serious Crime Act introduced a new offence in an attempt to combat domestic abuse. The new powers relate to behaviour which can be considered coercive or controlling in a continuous or repeated pattern but stops short of physical violence.

Controlling or coercive behaviour is a course of conduct that causes someone to either fear that violence will be used against them or that causes serious alarm or distress having a substantial effect on their usual day to day activities. It can include threats, humiliation, intimidation, control of telephone or social media accounts and restricting socialisation as well as limiting access to family, friends and finances.

People who suffer from emotional or psychological abuse can have recourse through the criminal courts. The maximum sentence for anyone found guilty of the offence is 5 years in prison and the courts can also impose fines.

If you have any questions or concerns about domestic abuse or separation, Barker Gotelee can offer a free and confidential initial consultation for anyone who needs help and advice.

Josephine Hayes is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors.

Ipswich Family Solicitors – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email