Legal help for emotional abuse
Victims of domestic abuse can use legal support to help keep themselves safe, even without evidence of physical violence.
Domestic abuse takes many forms and isn’t always physical. It may develop gradually and subtly, slowly eroding a victim’s confidence until they are unsure if what they’re experiencing is even abuse.
Emotional and verbal abuse, or controlling behaviour from a partner can be incredibly distressing and damaging, particularly when it’s carried out over a prolonged period of time.
Since 2015, this has been acknowledged by law. Under Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015, ‘controlling or coercive behaviour’ is now illegal within intimate relationships .
Many victims of coercive behaviour don’t recognise that they’re experiencing abuse, and may not know that this kind of behaviour is against the law. This offence carries a punishment of up to five years in prison, or a fine, or both, so it’s certainly not something to ignore.
If you are being emotionally abused, one option is to contact the police. Police are now obliged to take investigative action following an allegation of coercion and control, even without evidence of physical abuse.
If you don’t want to involve the police, or if you’re unsure that what you’re experiencing is abuse, you can contact a family lawyer. Family lawyers can give you advice on the law, but can also intervene by applying for non-molestation and occupation orders that can protect you against further abuse.
In cases of emergency, or where you are in immediate danger, call the police on 999. For a list of other organisations who can support you with domestic abuse, please see gov.uk’s list of support services.