Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | 1,185 day ago

'Domestic Abuse' Is To Be Made A Crime Thanks To Theresa May

The Debrief: Emotional abuse, not just violence, is going to be made a punishable offence, if Home Secretary's consultation goes through...

If a man were to bully his partner for years on end, there would be very little the UK courts could do about it. Because right now, UK law states that as ‘domestic abuse’ isn’t an actual crime, it’s only the physical violence that takes place within it that an offender can be arrested for, ie a man has to slap his wife and leave marks for it to count as assault.

However, this could all change as home secretary Theresa May has called for a specific ‘domestic abuse’ law so that abusive behaviour and bullying within relationships can be criminalised.

Though the exact details haven’t been laid out, The Telegraph reports that the law could be there to make men who bully, cause psychological harm or deny money to their partners face legal action (we’re guessing this denying money thing is in the case of a woman who is justifiably dependent on her male partner and he’s previously agreed to support her).

READ MORE: About domestic violence

The details of the 15-page consultation document from the Home Office says that a pattern of abuse would have to be identifiable in order to bring a prosecution. This law will also include women as potential perpetrators of domestic abuse.

Mrs May said that domestic violence is ‘not just about violence’ and that it can affect anyone from any walk of life: ‘Within every community there are people living in fear of those closest to them.’

She added: ‘The terrifying reality is that for the most part these appalling crimes happen behind closed doors. We must bring domestic abuse out into the open and send a clear message that it is wrong to put your partner or your family in fear.’

The consultation paper says that current laws aren’t enough: ‘The law is ambiguous and perpetrators are… not being brought to justice.’

The Government will consult on this paper for eight weeks.

READ MORE: The New Domestic Violence Stats Make For Depressing Reading 

The decision to call for a change in the law comes after a Home Office campaign that shows that ‘abuse in relationships isn’t always physical’, and emotional abuse and bullying can be a thing, too. You might remember the video campaign about it:

For more information, visit ThisIsAbuse.direct.gov.uk or Women’s Aid at womensaid.org.uk or call the Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

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Picture: Eugenia Loli 

Tags: Pure Politics, Domestic abuse, Domestic violence