In November 2015, it became a legal offence to be controlling, coercive or emotionally abusive in an intimate relationship.

But, nearly 18 months on – how well is the issue being tackled by the police and the government?

Amy,* whose name has been changed to protect her identity was the victim of emotional abuse for many years.

She confessed that when they met, her partner was lovely: ”Everybody loved him, because he had that persona about him. He was a flatterer and he’d make you feel a million dollars, he was full of compliments and he’d buy me presents. I couldn’t wish for anymore.”

”He was a flatterer, he made me feel a million dollars”
Amy, Survivor

But she soon started to see a different side to her abuser. Just a few months in, she said ”he’d question me a lot about where I was, who I was talking to, what I was doing, and because I was twenty, I thought moving in together was the answer.”

The emotional abuse continued for years and although Amy was never hit, the scars that remain are still as damaging.

Because Amy’s abuse happened before the 2015 law was passed, the only advice her solicitor was able to offer her was to apply for a non-molestation order.

But because Amy’s abuser never hit her, she was advised to ”grin and bear it and hope he gets bored”.

However, she confesses that even if the new law was in place when she was a victim, she still believes it would be exceptionally hard to prove her abuse.

AUDIO: Amy doesn’t believe that prior to the new law, the Police would believe her…


What are the guidelines of the law?

  • The law is issued under section 77 of the 2015 act and states that the incident must have happened 2 or more times
  • The victim and alleged perpetrator must be personally connected
  • The behaviour must have a serious effect on the victim – meaning it has caused the victim to fear that violence will be used against them on at least two occasions or it has had a substantial adverse effect on the victims day to day activities
  • The offence carries a maximum of 5 years imprisonment, a fine or both

Following a Freedom of Information request to Nottinghamshire Police it was found that since the law was passed they have made eighteen arrests.

But is this enough to confidently say that the problem is being tackled?

Rachel Hickling, a Detective Sergeant from Nottinghamshire Police who specialises in domestic violence argues that the law has been a ”fantastic piece of legislation.”

”it’s fantastic, before the law was passed there was real grey areas in the law”
Rachel hickling, Detective Sergeant, nottinghamshire police

Although, Rachel does agree that it is hard for victims to show evidence of what’s happened to them, she still believes that the Police are doing their best to tackle it.

Nottinghamshire Police was also the first police department to bring someone to a conviction under the new law.

AUDIO: Detective Sergeant, Rachel Hickling…

If you are being affected by emotional violence or coercive control, don’t hesitate to contact the Police on 101 or call 999 in an emergency.

Here are some helpful links for victims or anyone effected by such issues: