Amendments to the definition of domestic abuse lowers the age classification to 16 or over and for the first time recognises controlling and coercive behaviour over a pattern
ACPO lead on domestic abuse Chief Constable Carmel Napier said:
“On average two women a week and one man every seventeen days are murdered by their current or former partner. Around one in four women and one in six men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, and according to the 2010/11 British Crime Survey five per cent of men and seven per cent of women experienced domestic abuse in the past year. The same survey also found that women between 16-24 years of age and men aged 16-34 were more likely to suffer relationship abuse than any other age range.
“We also know that domestic abuse may often include coercive control. Coercive control is a complex pattern of abuse using power and psychological control over another – financial control, verbal abuse, forced social isolation. These incidents may vary in seriousness and are often repeated over time. However, coercive control was not previously reflected in the government’s definition of domestic violence.
“ACPO supports the Home Secretary’s amendments to the cross-Government definition of domestic violence announced today, following consultation in December 2011. The amendments to the definition are key in helping to raise awareness and enable effective prevention working in partnership with all agencies.
“Domestic abuse ruins lives, in some cases it ends in homicide. This amended definition will help us all to work together to defeat this dreadful crime.“