The Home Office’s new “early ILR concession”
Each unhappy relationship is unhappy in its own way. Sadly for some, emotional and physical abuse is an every-day reality. A combination of fear, loyalty and coercion often prevents action, much to the disbelief of family and friends. Words like these seem extraordinary in 2018. Surely no one need live like this? The reality is that it is only in the very recent past that both criminal and family law have fully evolved to provide real recognition and protection for adults and children in abusive relationships. Victims of domestic abuse don’t have much to be thankful for but it is good news that the law is finally on their side.
It is now three years since the Serious Crimes Act 2015 received royal assent, creating a new offence of coercive behaviour in intimate or familial relationships. Last week the Sentencing Council recommended harsher sentences for offences in a domestic setting that have the capacity for lasting psychological and emotional effect. These changes not only have an impact on criminal cases of domestic abuse, but also divorce and family justice related cases too, because criminal proceedings often have a bearing on divorce and children cases.
On 18 January 2018, Steven Saunders was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment following his trial for coercive and controlling behaviour in an intimate or family relationship.
Whilst such a sentence is no longer uncommon, this is the first reported case of a conviction in a “victimless prosecution” for controlling and coercive behaviour.
A Family and Criminal proceedings update
This summer, The Telegraph reported the disciplinary action taken against PC Wayne Hodge and found that “he was behaving in a controlling and coercive manner”. Apparently, he banned girlfriends from talking to men, wearing red nail polish or accepting Tesco deliveries if he was not at home.
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