Rising number of coercive control crimes in Nottinghamshire

A rising number of offences for controlling and coercive behaviour are being recorded in Nottinghamshire, figures show.

By Patrick Jack
Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 9:03 am
Updated Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 9:03 am

Home Office figures show Nottinghamshire Police received 534 reports of controlling and coercive behaviour in the year to March, up from 93 in 2020-21, the first year such crimes are recorded in the data.

Coercive control, which is punishable by up to five years’ jail, has been a criminal offence since legislation was introduced in 2015.

Abusers can be punished for subjecting a partner or family member to controlling behaviour such as isolating them, exploiting them financially, depriving them of basic needs, humiliating, frightening or threatening them.

Across England and Wales, 41,300 offences of controlling and coercive behaviour were recorded in 2021-22.

Across England and Wales, 41,300 offences of controlling and coercive behaviour were recorded in 2021-22, up more than a third from 30,800 the year before.

Jeffrey DeMarco, of charity Victim Support, said: “It is important we recognise emotional abuse for what it is and call it out when we see it.

"Domestic abuse isn’t only physical violence – and manipulative behaviour has no place in healthy relationships.”

Different figures suggest victims are becoming less likely to get their day in court, with just 3.9 per cent of cases closed in 2021-22 ending in a charge or summons – down from 4.1 per cent.

Mr DeMarco said the rise in offences could be more people reporting abuse to the police, but it is ‘concerning’ the number of charges for these crimes are also dropping.

In Nottinghamshire, 518 coercive control cases were closed last year, with 79 per cent abandoned due to difficulties gathering evidence and just 3.5 per cent resulting in a suspect being charged or summonsed to court, compared with 85.2 per cent abandoned and 7.4 per cent charged in 2020-21.

The Home Office said controlling or coercive behaviour is a ‘particularly insidious’ form of domestic abuse, and it does not always end at the point of separation.

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Detective Chief Inspector Natasha Todd, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “We treat all reports of controlling or coercive behaviour with the utmost seriousness and are committed to thoroughly investigating reports, safeguarding vulnerable people and supporting victims.

“I’m pleased to see more victims having the confidence to come forward in the knowledge they will be listened to and supported.

“It is also important to remember that in many cases of coercive or controlling behaviour we may have charged suspects with other offences.

“In 2021-22, we had 1,585 positive outcomes for domestic abuse cases and are always looking at ways to improve the way we investigate these incidents.

“We use all the tools available to us to safeguard victims, including the use of domestic abuse protection notices.

“In 2021 we issued 187 DVPNs, with 177 of these being made into domestic violence protection orders.

“Last year we also completed 356 disclosures to people who may be at risk or further abuse.

“I want to reassure survivors of these types of offences we treat reports of this nature extremely seriously and will do everything we can to support victims.

“You are not alone. If you make an allegation we will listen to you, we will investigate with care, determination and professionalism and do everything we can to help and get justice for you.”