Navigating Controlling & Coercive Behaviour in Family Law

by Kidd Rapinet on August 15, 2023
Couple sitting on bed body language shows upset

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 has been pivotal in reshaping how this behaviour is addressed

In recent years, the issue of controlling and coercive behaviour within intimate relationships has gained significant attention. Recognising the serious impact such behaviour can have on individuals and families, the UK Family Law Courts have taken steps to address these issues and provide a safe legal framework for those affected. This article will provide an overview of how the Family Law courts handle cases involving controlling and coercive behaviour.

Understanding Controlling and Coercive Behaviour

Controlling and coercive behaviour involves a pattern of actions that seeks to dominate, manipulate, or intimidate a partner, causing them to feel isolated, fearful, and undermined. This type of behaviour can extend beyond physical abuse and includes psychological, emotional, and financial elements.

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 has played a pivotal role in reshaping how the UK Family Law Courts address cases involving controlling and coercive behaviour. This comprehensive legislation widened the legal definition of domestic abuse, explicitly recognising coercive and controlling behaviour as criminal offences. It provides a framework for obtaining domestic abuse protection notices to safeguard victims and survivors.

Legal Remedies Available for Controlling & Coercive Behaviour

  1. Non-Molestation Orders: A non-molestation order is a court order that prohibits one party from using or threatening violence, or intimidating, harassing, or pestering the other party. It serves to protect the victim from any form of abuse or threats, including controlling and coercive behaviour.
  2. Occupation Orders: An occupation order regulates who can live in the family home and can also prohibit the abusive party from entering certain areas surrounding the home. This order is crucial in situations where victims and their children need a safe space away from the abuser.
  3. Protection from Harassment Act 1997: This act allows victims to seek protection from harassment, which can include controlling and coercive behaviour. It can involve restraining orders that restrict the abuser’s actions and communication with the victim.
  4. Child Arrangement Orders: When children are involved, the court will prioritise the child’s best interests. If a parent’s controlling or coercive behaviour impacts the children’s well-being, the court may adjust the child arrangements accordingly, and make a prohibited steps order, restricting the abusive parents behaviour.

This article was brought to you by Kidd Rapinet Maidenhead’s family solicitors. You can book an appointment with any of the family lawyers across our other offices in Aylesbury, Canary Wharf, Farnham, High Wycombe, Maidenhead or Slough, using the form provided.  Please use the links provided to find more information on divorce or separation, child arrangements and other areas of family law.

These materials and content have been prepared for the benefit of their viewers/readers. They are intended for marketing purposes only and are of a general nature and do not constitute legal advice applicable to any particular facts or circumstances. Kidd Rapinet LLP and/or the author(s) accept no duty of care, responsibility or liability for any loss or damage which you or any third party may suffer as a result of any reliance or use by you or them of these marketing materials and content, except to the extent it is not legally possible to exclude such liability. If you require legal advice on your own situation, please contact us so we can discuss how we may assist

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