In September 2012, the Government launched a consultation process which led to a change in the definition of domestic violence and abuse. The new definition which came into effect in March 2014 now includes individuals aged 16 and 17 years old. Coercive and controlling behaviour are also now included . The change in the definition is expected to raise awareness that young people aged between 16 and 17 do experience domestic violence and abuse and to encourage them to come forward to access help and support.
The Government’s definition of domestic violence and abuse is:
“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:
Controlling behaviour is: a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.
Coercive behaviour is: 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.”
*This definition, which is not a legal definition, includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group." (Home Office, 2013)
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As from the 29th December 2015 a new offence of coercive and controlling behaviour will become law. The police will be expected to recognise, record and investigate offences under section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015
Children at risk
Domestic violence and abuse can affect adults and children within a family setting. The risks to victims of Domestic violence and abuse and children are likely to increase significantly when relationships finish and for some time following any break-up. Although both men and women can experience domestic violence and abuse it is much more likely that women and children will be affected in cases of ongoing abuse, with the risk of serious harm and homicide being higher for women than men. Children who live with domestic violence and abuse are highly likely to be suffering emotional abuse themselves and are likely to be facing many risks, such as:
These risks can cause both short and long term effects on the child’s safety, welfare and development even if the parents are doing their best to protect them.
The outcomes maybe:
You should also complete a CAADA-DASH (Coordinated Action against Domestic Abuse Domestic Abuse, Stalking, Harassment and Honour based Violence risk assessment form) in order to assess the risk to the adult victim and any children involved.
In Kingston please visit Royal Borough of Kingston upon
Thames website where you can find out more on:
In Richmond please contact London Borough of Richmond
upon Thames where you can find out more information on domestic violence and abuse.