In Britain, hostility within family could mean crime

December 12th, 2011 - 5:35 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 12 (IANS) Being hostile towards yout life partner in Britain may soon land individuals in deep trouble, as such behaviour is likely to be considered a criminal offence by the government. Bullies who use psychological abuse to control their partners could face criminal charges, the Daily Mail reported Sunday.

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg is expected to reveal plans to tighten up the law on domestic abuse in relationships.

The Liberal Democrat party leader is to launch far-reaching consultations this week into how it should be legally defined.

There is presently no specific criminal offence for domestic abuse, either for bullying or violence. But there is a government-backed definition agreed in 2004 which refers to: “Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.”

Ministers fear police and other agencies are not applying this rigorously enough and will consult on whether there should be a new legal definition and how it should be phrased.

A reference to “coercive control” will be included — which may include emotional abuse, a pattern of threatening behaviour, economic control, and manipulation, including children’s manipulation.

Ministers will also unveil a separate consultation on making forced marriage a criminal offence.

Last year, as per the country’s Home Office, there were over one million women victims of domestic abuse in England and Wales.

Any new definition of domestic violence would also cover women who bully and abuse their male partners.

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