Coercive Control, what does it really mean?

Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 created a new offence of controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship. The offence is designed to criminalise those who abuse their partners psychologically.

The offence came in to force on 29th December 2015, the maximum sentence at the Crown Court is 5 years. However at the Magistrates Court the maximum sentence is 6 months imprisonment, for one offence.

The offence is committed if, you repeatedly or continuously engage in behaviour towards another person, that is controlling or coercive; and at time of the behaviour, you are personally connected; and the behaviour has a serious effect on the complainant; and you must know or ought to know that the behaviour will have a serious effect on them.

The offence will be hard to prove for the prosecution as it has to be prove serious effect; that on at least two occasions the complainant felt violence would be used or that serious alarm or distress, which has a substantial adverse effect on their day-to-day activities, was felt.

Coercive or controlling behaviour does not relate to a single incident, it is a purposeful pattern of incidents that occur over time in order for one individual to exert power, control or coercion over another.

Here at Emery Johnson Astills, we attend both the Magistrates and Crown Court and can assist if you have been charged with this offence.

If the police have asked you to attend at the police station, in relation to any of the above offences, Emery Johnson Astills can attend and advise you free of charge.

Please contact a member of the Criminal Team on 0116 255 4855.