by Sonali Kamboj
In an attempt to tackle the psychological abuse meted out by abusive husbands, the government plans to criminalises non-violent controlling behaviours, which could land bullying husbands behind bars.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, unveiled the proposal to make worst cases of domestic bullying a jailable offence.
Addressing the nation in a press conference, the Home Secretary mentioned that domestic violence is “not just about violence. Within every community there are people living in fear of those closest to them. 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.”
While the exact terms of offence are yet to be defined, it will take psychological harm, denying money to partner and bullying within its ambit. It can also include other controlling behaviours such as humiliating, intimidating partner over a long period of time or forbidding partner to visit friends and family.
The jail term, however, has not been decided yet.
Even though the plan is largely designed to protect wives from abusive husbands, it is also applicable to any husband who faces bullying or intimidation by their wives.
The government has collaborated with Women’s Aid, a charity that works to end domestic violence and has put forward a 15-page consultation paper.
In a press release, Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid said, “We welcome the Government’s intention to consult on the criminalisation of coercive control and psychological abuse and reconcile the criminal law around abuse with the Home Office’s definition. Two women a week are killed by domestic violence, and coercive control is the central feature of that violence. We look forward to working closely with the Home Office, the police, and the CPS to ensure perpetrators of domestic violence are identified and dealt with swiftly and effectively.”