Victims of domestic violence are urged to record incidents of abuse over the summer holiday period, as cases of domestic abuse rise over the summer period.
On December 31, 2015, coercive control became a new offence under Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015, which means that actions intended to intimidate, restrict and control a partner’s behaviour are now a criminal offence.
Figures obtained from police by Ridley & Hall Solicitors under Freedom of Information show that Nottinghamshire Police recorded 50 arrests for ‘controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship’ between January 1 and December 31 last year, of which just nine charges were made.
Of these incidents, an outcome of ‘No further action’ was recorded 28 times.
Family lawyer and domestic violence campaigner, Emma Pearmaine, said gathering enough evidence for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to bring a charge against violent spouses is exceptionally difficult, but that mobile phone apps could help.
She said: “Coercive control is a subtle pattern of behaviours which are very hard for both victims and the police to prove. Although thousands of arrests are made for domestic violence and coercive control each year, cases are often dropped because of insufficient evidence.
“We know that incidents of domestic abuse and violence go up over holiday periods, so I am urging those who already feel threatened to find a way of making a record of any and all incidents of abuse over the summer.”
There are currently several apps available for victims of domestic violence that help with everything from simple note-keeping to storing searchable records such as documents, pictures and videos. Many apps are disguised as something else to avoid suspicion from the abuser, and even allow victims and their lawyers to download the stored records in court-ready chronology.
Emma added: “By keeping a record of domestic abuse, the Police and Crown Prosecution Service will be able to make a case to charge and prosecute the perpetrator.
“Family lawyers will be able to use the evidence to secure orders necessary to protect and meet the practical needs of the victim and any children of the family, which include non-molestation orders, financial orders and child arrangements orders.”
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