Humberside Police's First Coercive Control Custodial Sentence Given

Brand New Coercive Control Law Sees First Sentence for the Area

7 Sep 2016

Humberside Police have made history being the first force to get a custodial sentence for coercive control offences using victimless prosecution.

On Friday 2nd September, it is believed the first coercive control sentence was given in England using a victimless prosecution.

Humberside Police has now set a precedent, leading from the front in successfully using the new coercive control legislation, which only came into power on 29th December 2015, getting a Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) charge for coercive control.

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Gadd, said; “The victim was 21-years-old and had only been in this relationship for a short period of time. Regardless of the length of their relationship, the 24-year-old offender was very jealous and extremely possessive of her, becoming angry and suspicious over very minor things. The victim was told what she could/could not wear and prevented her from doing things. The victim was facing serious assaults on a daily basis. Even when the victim escaped to a family members address for respite, he would find her and assault her even further.

“The victim had stopped engaging with health services, stopped wearing makeup or doing her hair to prevent further paranoia and jealousy. 

“The night the offender was arrested, he had started slapping his girlfriend at a party. He poured a can of lager over her and continued the beating. That was when the victim sustained a perforated eardrum and we were notified of the incident.

“The offender was arrested and interviewed. He denied everything. CPS authorised the charges of section 20 assault, common assault and engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour. 

“With the level of injuries, severity and frequency of the abuse, it was in the public’s interest to progress the investigation, regardless of the victims wishes.”

Judge Jeremy Richardson QC, who sentenced the offender said in court; “I think she would be very unwise, and I say this publicly, to endeavour to engage with this man in the future.

Jailing the offender for a total of 21 months, the judge called his behaviour “a disgrace”, and told him “Any individual, in particularly a man in the context of the case, who seeks to control his partner in the way that you conducted yourself in this relationship, behaves not only in a reprehensible way, but commits a crime. 

“That crime unquestionably calls for an immediate custodial sentence.”

 

PVP’s Detective Superintendent Matt Baldwin, said: “This case is an excellent example of how successful both the new legislation and the use of victimless prosecution can be. It also highlights how here in Humberside we are working with the CPS to lead the way in successfully prosecuting these abusive and controlling individuals.”

Last year Humberside Police dealt with 15,749 domestic abuse calls for service. We know it is still under reported, with many victims and concerned relatives keeping their concerns to themselves and not passing their worries on to the police or a domestic abuse charity or service.

The reality is domestic abuse is rarely a one-off event and it tends to increase in frequency and severity overtime. Coercive control can happen over a long period of time and at first is usually fairly subtle; having your mobile phone checked several times a day, feeling worried if you are late home from work in fear of punishment or told what to wear, who you can speak to or blamed for mistakes and misfortune completely out of your control. The abuser may use manipulation to control their partner, who is probably oblivious of the control they have over them.”

Humberside Police are committed to helping the thousands of victims in our communities looking to escape an abusive relationship, but have not got the confidence or courage to escape. It is everyone’s responsibility to pass on their concerns of a harmful relationship to a professional, whether the person you are concerned for is a neighbour, co-worker, family member or friend. You are not interfering or meddling in other people’s affairs, you could be saving a person’s life.

Domestic abuse kills and leaves a devastating trail of destruction for all those who have lost a family member to domestic abuse.

All agencies have a responsibility to spot the signs of domestic abuse and take action to safeguard victims and children. We are urging the whole community to understand what coercive control is and please pass your concerns to the police or speak to your GP, domestic abuse charity or local authority run domestic abuse service.

Humberside Police are extremely proud to have excellent working relationships with our local authority domestic abuse projects and would invite anyone wanting to know more about additional support our area to contact any of the following:

East Riding Domestic Violence Abuse Project (DVAP) on 01482 396330,

Hull Domestic Abuse Project (DAP) 01482 318759,

Blue Door for North and North East Lincolnshire 0800 1974787.

For confidential advice call the National Domestic Violence Helpline which is run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge: 0808 2000 247.

To report Domestic Abuse contact the police via 101. In an emergency call 999.