The UK defines economic control as a form of domestic violence

The UK government has published a landmark domestic violence bill that aims to tackle methods of non-physical abuse.

Lydia Morrish
Lydia Morrish NewsMavens, United Kingdom
The UK defines economic control as a form of domestic violence - NewsMavens
Parliament, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

Methods of economic control, such as restricting a partner's funds or other forms of manipulative non-physical abuse, have been recognized as a form of domestic abuse in a new draft British bill released on Monday.

The bill, aimed at supporting victims and their families, also recognizes that offenders should not be able to cross-examine victims in court, which has too often placed blame on survivors of violence.

It may also force offenders to take mandatory lie-detector tests on release from prison.

While the British government claims the bill is the "most comprehensive package ever to tackle domestic abuse", critics point out the government's own failings to protect victims of violence.

Cuts to domestic violence refuges and women's services have left many women with dwindling options for seeking help, while a new benefit that sends payments to one member of a home, puts claimants living with domestic abuse at risk.

Details from the story:

  • Under new legislation put forward by the British government to tackle domestic violence, the first ever statutory government definition of domestic abuse has been introduced to specifically include economic abuse as well as controlling and manipulative non-physical abuse in England and Wales.
  • Methods of economic control include withholding payments from a partner and restricting a partner's access to bank accounts or employment.
  • This, the government says, "will enable everyone, including victims themselves, to understand what constitutes abuse and will encourage more victims to come forward."
  • The bill is cited as progress in recognizing non-physical forms of abuse and control, however critics question its effectiveness in the face of cuts to domestic refuges and women's services.
  • The bill will now be brought before parliament for debate.
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