Since 2015 the law has recognised that psychological or emotional abuse can be just as upsetting and damaging to individuals as physical abuse.
The Serious Crime Act 2015 made ‘controlling or coercive behaviour’ in an intimate or family relationship an offence in the UK. Earlier this year, Scottish Parliament also made psychological domestic abuse a crime under their new Domestic Abuse Act.
Physical domestic abuse tends to be much easier to identify that emotional abuse, but that doesn’t make it any less distressing for the victim.
The key behaviours that constitute psychological domestic abuse are:
- Controlling a person’s day-to-day activities– this can include, but isn’t limited to, where they go, who they see, and what they wear.
- Intimidating behaviour– any behaviour that makes another person feel scared, including shouting, acting aggressively and making threats.
- Putting someone down– this includes behaviour that damages a person’s confidence and sense of self-worth like repeatedly putting another person down or calling them names.
- Financial control– this refers to controlling behaviour relating to another person’s employment or finances and can include withholding money or preventing someone from getting a job.
- Isolation– preventing a person from spending time or speaking with their friends and family.
- Degrading behaviour– carrying out activities or enforcing rules that humiliate, degrade or dehumanise a person.
- Emotional blackmail– using threats or emotional outbursts to control or manipulate another person.
One or two isolated incidents of any of the above behaviours is unlikely to constitute domestic abuse. The behaviours become an offence when they are used repeatedly and calculatedly by a perpetrator, resulting in serious alarm or distress for the victim.
If you are being subjected to domestic abuseand require legal advice or support, give our team of family law specialists here at Lund Bennett a call on 0161 927 3118.