Domestic Violence Laws Tightened in the UK

By Sharon Moore on December 12, 2011

Among the types of abuse, emotional abuse is the hardest to prove. Since there are no physical signs, it has become very difficult for investigators to gather evidences that will put the abuser to conviction. Statistics show that one in four women in the UK has experienced domestic violence. However, only 15% of the cases have been filed in court. Because of this, the laws on domestic violence in the country have been tightened. Now, women can file a lawsuit against their husbands for any case of bullying or taking control over them. This will also apply to all husbands who experience same kind of abuse from their wives. It has been reported that 5% of men have experienced domestic violence.

What is Domestic Violence?

Under the existing laws in UK, domestic violence is defined as ‘any incident’ that is characterised by threatening behaviour, violence, or abuse.  Abuse can be in form of psychological, emotional, sexual, and the most common – physical abuse. Domestic violence is considered existing when the abuse or violence happens between individuals having an intimate relationship. That would mean violence between boyfriend and girlfriend, husband and wife and even sexual partners. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the persons involved are male and female. In domestic violence, no gender and sexuality matters.

The New Policy

Today, husbands can be charged and prosecuted even without physically assaulting their wives. The new policy has been endorsed by the Liberal Democrat ministers after reviewing the present cases of domestic violence in the country. It was found that many teenage girls have been abused by their boyfriends. The emotional abuse made it hard for these girls to break away from the abusive patterns even after separating with their partners. This was featured on a government television campaign. The Liberal Democrat ministers are also planning to make additional laws that would prosecute and convict parents who are forcing their children to engage into arranged marriages.

The said policies are centred on emotional abuse which covers any person who is exercising coercive control over their partners. Aside from force, any person who is proven to have been threatening and intimidating their partners may also get criminalised. The additional policies have not been clearly defined yet but comprehensive deliberations are expected to take place in the following days.

Emotional Abuse – The Most Common Form of Abuse

Emotional abuse is considered to be the most common form of abuse by many experts but unfortunately, this is the least subject that is talked about. Unlike physical abuse, emotional abuse has no obvious signs, no scars, and no marks. A woman may seem very happy and relaxed because she doesn’t have any wounds or bruises. But, it doesn’t mean she has not been abused and mistreated by her partner. This is usually what happens in the real world.

Emotional abuse is composed of a series of incidents or a pattern of behaviour that may develop overtime. A person can be emotionally abused when he or she has been humiliated, harassed, forced, teased, terrorised, degraded, and or controlled by another individual.

For more information about the new law, please view the Daily Mail article.

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