Sussex Police have welcomed ‘powerful’ new laws which see emotionally abusive partners face a jail sentence of up to five years.
The new domestic abuse offence of Controlling or Coervice Behaviour takes effect today (Tuesday, December 29) following an amendment to the Serious Crime Bill earlier this year.
The new offence aims to reduce bullying including extreme psychological and emotional abuse and could see abusers jailed for up to five years even if there is no physical violence.
Detective Chief Inspector Ali Eaton of the Sussex Police public protection branch said, “Sussex Police and our domestic abuse partners welcome this new legislation. It closes a gap in the law around patterns of controlling or coercive behaviour.
“The new law is powerful and will send a strong message to perpetrators as it is arrestable and can carry a sentence up to five years imprisonment.
“Domestic abuse in a relationship can take many forms and while most people can see the results of physical violence, there can also be mental, emotional and exploitive behavior, depriving victims of their independence by regulating their everyday behaviour.
“It is insidious and manipulative and designed to destroy a victim’s confidence. Quite often taking place behind closed doors, the emotional abuse may be invisible, but the damage to victims is significant. This new legislation will allow the authorities to tackle this crime and arrest abusers.”
The amendment was passed earlier this year and has come into effect today following new training and guidelines for police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
The new law also means abused partners now have up to two years to report domestic abuse, rather than the previous limit of six months.
DCI Eaton said, “We have already invested in the training of our frontline officers to ensure they understand the new legislation and to highlight the damage controlling and coercive behavior can inflict upon a victim. The report by HM Inspector of Constabulary on 15 December recognises the hard work that is put in by Sussex Police and our partners to tackle vulnerability including domestic abuse in all its forms.
“Our Operation Ribbon campaign is currently ensuring dedicated police patrols are available over the Christmas and New Year period to respond to calls about domestic abuse, but our efforts are unceasing all through the year and officers will be ready to use this new law whenever the circumstances justify it.”
For advice and support in Sussex visit www.sussex.police.uk or call 101.
To join in the Twitter debate, use #talktous.
To find local support and help near to you visit www.safespacesussex.org.uk
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