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Police set sights on ‘subtle’ forms of domestic abuse

PICTURE POSED BY MODEL File photo dated 09/03/15 of a shadow of a man with a clenched fist as a woman cowers in the corner, as the Ministry of Justice announced legal aid restrictions will be eased for victims of domestic violence under Government reforms. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday December 4, 2017. Changes have been announced to give more support to those taking abusive former partners to court in family proceedings. See PA story POLITICS Domestic. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Police would welcome the addition of a new offence to target subtle, non-physical forms of domestic abuse.

Behaviours such as isolating a person from their friends or family, or restricting their access to money, are lesser known forms of domestic abuse that would be caught by a law criminalising ‘controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship’.

According to the RGP, the Gibraltar Government is currently looking into the possibility of implementing such legislation here, where it would sit alongside its recently announced domestic abuse strategy.

The UK introduced a new law on coercive control at the end of 2015 following a Home Office review and should Gibraltar implement the legislation, it will likely mirror this.

Prior to the introduction of this offence in the UK, case law there illustrated the difficulty in proving a pattern of behaviour amounting to harassment within an intimate relationship.

In an interview with the Chronicle Inspector Alex Enriles, of the Royal Gibraltar Police’ Safeguarding Unit, explained that the new law would be for those situations where abuse is not visible because it is not physical.

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