Emotional abuse and Coercive Control Laws: A critical study into the effect of redefining domestic abuse

By Christienne Whincup

This project is submitted for assessment in the First Year Law in Action 1 module.

Since the conception of Domestic Violence legislation in England and Wales (Domestic Violence and Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1976), the focus has been the prevention of physical harm to a victim. In the ground-breaking legislative shift, ‘matrimonial injunctions’ which could be applied for through civil means, were introduced. Sadly, power of arrest only became an added possibility if a judge was satisfied the other party had already committed the serious offence of actual bodily harm. Physical harm continued to be the focus of government policy and legislation throughout reform introduced through the Family Law Act 1996 and the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims act 2004, which sought to clarify non-molestation orders and the list of those that could apply.

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