Police probe "hundreds" of control crimes

Hundreds of controlling and coercive behaviour offences were recorded in the North East last year, new figures show.
Hundreds of coercive behaviour crimes.Hundreds of coercive behaviour crimes.
Hundreds of coercive behaviour crimes.

Home Office figures show Northumbria Police received 531 reports of controlling and coercive behaviour in the year to March – though this is down from 637 in 2020-21, the first year such crimes were recorded.

Coercive control - punishable by up to five years imprisonment – has been a criminal offence since 2015.

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Abusers can be punished for subjecting a partner or family member to controlling behaviour such as isolating them, exploiting them financially, depriving them of basic needs, humiliating, frightening or threatening them.

Different figures suggest victims are becoming less likely to get their day in court, with just 3.9% of cases closed in 2021-22 ending in a charge or summons – down from 4.1%.

The data shows that, in Northumbria, 485 coercive control cases were closed last year – with 91.5% abandoned due to difficulties gathering evidence and just 4.7% resulting in a suspect being charged or summonsed to court.

This is compared to 93.5% abandoned and 5.4% charged in 2020-21.

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In England and Wales, 41,300 offences of controlling and coercive behaviour were recorded in 2021-22 – up more than a third from 30,800 the year before.

Jeffrey DeMarco, assistant director at the charity Victim Support, said the rise in offences could be more people reporting abuse to the police, but it is "concerning" that the number of charges for these crimes are also dropping.

He added: “It is so important that we recognise emotional abuse for what it is and call it out when we see it.