Coercive and controlling behaviour – getting protection

Recently, it was reported that an ex-husband of an ITV Wales presenter has been jailed after a nine-year campaign of harassment and stalking during their marriage.

The accused plead guilty to coercive and controlling behaviour and stalking.  Strikingly, upon being arrested, the defendant replied: “Harassment? But she’s my wife.” It is important that the Law recognises and takes seriously this type of abuse between those in intimate relationships. You are not your partner’s possession and being in a marriage/relationship does not permit a person to display controlling and coercive behaviour.

In this case, types of behaviour displayed by the accused would include him accessing her phone messages and mail, preventing her from socialising with friends and family, making threats of suicide and he even had a tracker fitted to her car. This relationship also involved physical abuse.

This case demonstrates how the government’s new coercive or controlling behaviour offence, which came into force in 2015, is being implemented. Behaviour which amounts to extreme psychological and emotional abuse is a criminal offence and should not be diminished. The offence carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment, a fine or both.

The Government defined ‘coercive behaviour’ as an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.

It is important to notice the warning signs and triggers of this type of behaviour as can be seen in the examples of behaviours above. It is domestic abuse, and the perpetrator should be held accountable and responsible for their actions.

If you find yourself in an emergency, call 999.

Alternatively, we can help to provide protection. An application can be made to the Family Court to put in place a Non-Molestation Order. This can prevent an abuser from using or threatening violence, intimidating, harassing or pestering you. If the abuser breaks this order, they may be arrested and charged with a criminal offence.

We can also send a warning letter if you do not wish to pursue a police investigation or court application.

We work closely with domestic abuse organisations such as Tomorrow’s Women, South Liverpool Domestic Abuse Services, MCDVS and HEAT Liverpool.  These organisations are able to help victims of domestic abuse and provide invaluable support services to help victims overcome their experiences.

Contact us, we are here to help

Please contact us today if you have been affected by this type of behaviour, your call and any advice or support we provide will be strictly confidential. We have specialist domestic abuse lawyers who can advise you of your options. You are not alone.

You can find a list of support agencies and resources, here: