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The long anticipated Domestic Abuse Act received Royal Assent on 29 April 2021. After numerous delays to the parliamentary timetable including the prorogation of parliament and the COVID-19 pandemic it has finally made its way on to the statute book.
The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 became law on 29 April 2021. One of the key provisions of the Act is to broaden the ambit of the offence of controlling and coercive behaviour.
The recent Channel 4 drama “I am Nicola” sought to portray the dynamics of a couple, Nicola and Adam, with a serious imbalance of power in their relationship - with the central theme of coercive control. Stacey Nevin explores the issues, including the interplay between family law proceedings and the criminal offence of controlling and coercive behaviour.
On 21 January 2019, the draft Domestic Abuse Bill (“the Bill”) was published by the Government. The stated aim of the Bill is to protect and support victims and their families, pursue and deter offenders and improve the performance of local agencies and services in instances of domestic abuse. It is of relevance to both criminal and family law practitioners.
The criminal offence of Controlling and Coercive behaviour in an intimate and family relationship should be of key significance to family lawyers. Family lawyers know all too well that allegations of harassment and domestic abuse are regularly raised in the context of a relationship breakdown - and instances of Controlling and Coercive behaviour from one partner or spouse towards the other may, once raised, play a significant role in both the divorce and any children proceedings. An allegation of Controlling and Coercive behaviour may give rise to a criminal complaint and an intrusive police investigation. Whether your client has accused their partner of Controlling and Coercive behaviour or is the subject to a police investigation following such an allegation, it is critical to synchronise the criminal and family law advice. This article provides guidance through the tricky and unpredictable process.
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