POLICE have failed to charge anyone under new domestic violence laws.
Coercive Control laws – brought in at the end of last year – were designed to protect victims of domestic abuse and carry a maximum sentence of five years.
But Warwickshire Police was among seven other forces across the country which have so far failed to charge anyone with the crime. Kent had the most prosecutions across the country – charging 13 people under the law.
Warwickshire Police say they have trained officers on how to recognise patterns of coercive control, which can include preventing a partner or family member from having friendships or hobbies, intimidating them, refusing access to money or determining when they can eat or sleep.
Det Ch Insp Vikki Reay told The Observer: “Gathering evidence for these offences can be complex and only incidents occurring from the date coercive or controlling abuse became a crime can be taken into account.
“By training officers and working with support agencies and partners, we can use evidence of patterns of controlling, abusive behaviour to enable prosecutions.”
With one in four women and one in six men being a victim of domestic abuse in their lifetime, officers are calling for those affected to come forward and seek help.
Insp Reay added: “Domestic abuse is a traumatic and often hidden crime and it can take a great deal of courage for someone to accept that a relationship is an abusive one.
“We want to encourage anyone affected to seek help and be confident in reporting abuse, knowing that police and partner agencies will support you.
“Please do not keep it to yourself as this isolates you, which is what your partner wants as this increases their control over you. Tell someone, someone you trust who can help you decide what to do next.”
Visit www.warwickshire.police.uk or call 0800 408 1552 for advice or to find out more.