Controlling or Coercive Behaviour in an Intimate or Family Relationship | Kangs Criminal Solicitors


Sukhdip Randhawa of Kangs Solicitors looks at the offence of Controlling or Coercive Behaviour that came into force on the 29th December 2015 under the Serious Crime Act 2015.

What is the New Offence | Kangs Criminal Defence Solicitors

This offence is constituted by:

  • behaviour of a controlling or coercive nature on the part of the perpetrator which takes place repeatedly or continuously (‘the behaviour’),
  • the victim and perpetrator must be personally ‘connected’ at the time the behaviour takes place.
  • the behaviour must have a serious effect ‘on the victim’ whereby there has been fear of violence on at least two occasions or a substantial adverse effect on the victim’s day to day activities.
  • the perpetrator must have known that the behaviour would have a serious effect upon the victim or that he or she ought to have known it would have such an effect.

Controlling behaviour is the conduct of one or more of a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate /dependant by, for example:

  • isolating that person from sources of support,
  • exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain,
  • depriving them of their independence,
  • preventing their resistance and escape

by regulating their everyday behaviour.

Coercive behaviour is a continuing act or pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten the victim.

Examples of Controlling or Coercive Behaviour include:

  1. Isolation from friends and family;
  2. Monitoring movement and travel;
  3. Controlling finances;
  4. Repeatedly destroying confidence by jibes of worthlessness;
  5. Enforcing rules and activities designed to humiliate, degrade or dehumanise.

The behaviour can take place at or away from the home, in the latter case by, for example, having a person followed or monitoring their routine.

Sentencing | Kangs Solicitors Criminal Team

The offence carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment, a fine or both.

Possible Defences | Criminal Defence Solicitors

  • The Prosecution must show that the behaviour must have a serious effect ‘on the victim, as defined by the law.
  • The defendant may be able to show the belief that he or she was acting in the best interests of the victim and that in the particular circumstances their behaviour was objectively reasonable.

However, this defence is not available to a defendant who has caused another person to fear that violence may be used.

How Can Kangs Solicitors Help You? | Kangs Criminal Solicitors

Kangs Solicitors are regularly instructed to represent people who are either under investigation, charged or appealing their conviction / sentence.

We have a proven track record of securing acquittals and successful appeals.

Our general and serious crime team has experience of dealing with all matters including offences under the newest legislation.

Who Can I Contact For Help | Specialist Criminal Solicitors

Arrangements can be made to meet at any of our offices in Birmingham, London and Manchester.

Please feel free to contact our crime team through either of the following who will be happy to speak to you and guide you.

Mr Sukhdip Randhawa
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396 (24hr Emergency Number)

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