Domestic Violence Law Reform Campaign achieves criminalisation of coercive control

Solicitor Rachel Horman welcomes new domestic abuse legislation
Solicitor Rachel Horman welcomes new domestic abuse legislation

The Domestic Violence Law Reform Campaign celebrated a significant breakthrough yesterday, as the Government announced a new domestic violence law criminalising patterns of coercive, controlling and psychological abuse. The announcement is designed to clarify and strengthen the law on abuse, to drive a culture change ensuring that no form of abuse can be perpetrated without criminal sanction. Watson Ramsbottom Director and Head of Domestic Violence, Stalking & Harassment and Forced Marriage has been at the forefront of campaigning for new domestic abuse legislation for many years. The Campaign by Women’s Aid, the Sara Charlton Charitable Foundation, and Paladin National Stalking Advocacy Service (of which Rachel Horman is Chair), has been calling for this change, to better protect women who experience domestic violence.

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid said:

“We welcome the Home Secretary’s announcement that the Government will criminalise the patterns of coercive, controlling, and psychologically abusive behaviour which lie at the heart of domestic violence. We hope the new law will signal that a culture change is needed in responding to the abuse so many women experience. We look forward to working together with the Home Office to ensure the new law is effective as it can be, and that the police and criminal justice system are able to receive specialist-led domestic violence training so that they are able to fully utilise the new legislation.

Rhea Gargour, and Antonia Packard for the Sara Charlton Charitable Foundation said:

“We are thrilled that our campaign has been successful and that finally victims of domestic violence have a real chance to be properly protected by our legal system. We hope that this will lead to effective training of the police and a culture change where domestic violence is recognised as an unacceptable crime. We thank the Home Secretary and the Government for their commitment to helping victims of domestic violence and their children.”

Laura Richards, Chief Executive of Paladin said:

“It is important that our laws reflect the reality of domestic violence. It is about power and control and the psychological impact is significant. Too many have had their lives ruined and many women have been murdered. Victims’ voices have been at the heart of our campaign and we are delighted that the Government has listened and that domestic violence will become a crime. This will send a clear signal that domestic violence must be taken seriously”

For further information or assistance in relation to domestic abuse cases please contact Watson Ramsbottom on 01254 67 22 22, by email to or complete our online contact form.