Sep 10, 2016

Man, 24, is one of the first people jailed for coercive control offences using victimless prosecution

The Telegraph




A 24-year-old who assaulted his girlfriend and stopped her wearing makeup is believed to be the first person to be jailed for coercive control offences using victimless prosecution.

On the night the man was arrested, he had started slapping his 21-year-old girlfriend at a party and poured a can of lager over her while he continued the “beating” which resulted in him bursting her eardrum.

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Gadd, from Humberside Police, said: “With the level of injuries, severity and frequency of the abuse, it was in the public’s interest to progress the investigation, regardless of the victim’s wishes.”


Controlling or coercive behaviour

Examples could include:

·        Stopping a victim from socialising

·        Limiting access to family, friends and finances

·        Monitoring a person via online communication tools, for example using tracking apps on mobile phones

·        Threatening to reveal or publish private information


Humberside Police has now become the first force to successfully use the new legislation, which only came into power in December 2015, by getting a Crown Prosecution Service charge for the offence.

Victimless prosecution – also known as evidence-based prosecution – is used by prosecutors in domestic violence cases to convict abusers without the cooperation of an alleged victim.

DCI Gadd said: “The victim was told what she could/could not wear and prevented from doing thing. The victim was facing serious assaults on a daily basis. Even when the victim escaped to a family members address for respite, he would find her and assault her even further.

"The victim had stopped engaging with health services, stopped wearing makeup or doing her hair to prevent further paranoia and jealousy.”

After the injury to the victim’s ear, DCI Gadd said the offender was arrested and interviewed.

“He denied everything. CPS authorised the charges of section 20 assault, common assault and engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour.

Jailing the offender, Judge Jeremy Richardson, QC, said: "That crime unquestionably calls for an immediate custodial sentence."

Detective Superintendent Matt Baldwin added: "This case is an excellent example of how successful both the new legislation and the use of victimless prosecution can be. It also highlights how here in Humberside we are working with the CPS to lead the way in successfully prosecuting these abusive and controlling individuals."

Humberside Police dealt with 15,749 domestic abuse calls last year and the force believes offences are still under-reported.



What is coercive control?

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·        Professor Evan Stark of Rutgers University in New York originally defined it as ‘a course of conduct in which a pattern of violence, sexual coercion, intimidation, isolation and control are used to dominate and exploit a partner and deprive [him or her] of basic rights and resources’.

·        Isolation from friends, family and colleagues is a classic method by which abusers exert control over their victims.

·        Other characteristics include excessive jealousy, taking away the victim’s phone, withholding food and toilet access, stalking, restricting access to money.

·        For help and support if you are a victim of any form of domestic violence, contact Women’s Aid, Refuge or the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.


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