Last year, a new law was introduced in the UK which seeks to protect victims of psychological abuse.
According to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the number of prosecutions that deal with violence against women and girls in England and Wales went up by 10 per cent last year.
But prosecutions regarding psychological abuse remain low.
As per data released under the Freedom of Information Act the law that protects victims of domestic violence from ‘controlling and coercive behaviour’ has been invoked just 62 times in the first six months since its introduction.
The following list details the 13 things made illegal by the new legislation.
- Sharing sexually explicit photos online
As a result of the ‘disclosing private sexual images without consent’ law passed recently, the practice of revenge porn has been banned.
Under this, if intimate photos of former partners are shared by a disgruntled ex without consent it can attract community orders, restraining orders, as well as jail time for those convicted.
- Isolating from friends or family
The new law makes it an offence if a person “repeatedly or continuously” isolates their partner from family or friends.
Considered as an act of domestic violence, such behaviour can lead to restraining orders, hefty fines, and up to five years in jail.
The law also allows victims to report crimes for up to two years.
3. Controling clothing decisions
If in a marriage one partner continuously controls what the other wears, or criticises their wardrobe choices or chooses their clothes, then it can be considered as grounds for divorce.
4. Installation of tracking devices on phones
When tracking devices are installed in phones or other devices without a partner’s consent or such actions forms a part of a regular pattern of controlling behaviour, then it is considered as an offence under the new law.
5. Controlling Finances
Financial abuse is when one partner takes full controls of the other’s finances, and refuses access. It is considered as a crime under the abuse law.
Citizens Advice has reported around 900 cases of financial abuse in the 12 months ending October 2015.
The domestic violence charity Refuge stated last year that it had handled cases wherein victims had to provide receipts for all spending, or were given such small allowances that they couldn’t afford to buy even food for themselves or their children.
6. Threatening behaviour
Even if a partner does not physically harm the other, if they are showing threatening or intimidating behaviour to frighten them, then they are said to be displaying ‘controlling or coercive behaviour’ as per Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015.
7. Humiliate on platforms like Facebook
Psychological abuse includes instances of the partner repeatedly using social media posts to humiliate and embarrass the other.
8. Repeatedly put down partner
In this subtle form of abuse, one partner may put the other down repeatedly but disguise it as loving advice which can harm the other’s self-esteem. This is also considered as psychological abuse.