Avon and Somerset Constabulary: Domestic abuse ‘will not be tolerated’

PUBLISHED: 10:00 07 January 2017

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Fifty-nine people across Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s force area have been arrested for controlling or coercive behaviour since a vital change to domestic violence legislation was introduced one year ago.

The Serious Crime Act 2015 was amended last December to include a new offence of controlling or coercive behaviour, and officers in Avon and Somerset have vowed those who dominate and abuse other family members will not be able to get away with such ‘cruel’ behaviour.

People convicted of coercive or controlling behaviour can be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison.

The force’s lead for domestic abuse, Superintendent Andy Bennett, said the law covered all familial relationships, meaning it was not solely restricted to partners or spouses.

Supt Bennett also urged those who thought they might be a victim of such abuse to come forward, despite admitting this type of crime could be difficult to prove.

Supt Bennett said: “Any type of abuse is an inexcusable form of cruelty and will not be tolerated.

“Most people understand domestic abuse to be physical violence between two people in a relationship. While this is true, there are other, perhaps more subtle ways someone can be controlled or abused by another in a domestic setting.

“It might include someone having their finances controlled, being told what to wear or humiliated on a daily basis – things that people outside looking in might not pick up on or see as domestic abuse.

“Our advice to anyone in an abusive relationship of any kind is simple – just tell someone.

“Speak to someone you trust and just let them know or give them a sign.”

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