Unfortunately over the festive period of Christmas and New Year we can expect to witness a rise in domestic abuse. Official figures show a shocking increase in reports of domestic violence over the two week holidays.

It is tragic that what is such a joyous occasion for many, spending time with loved ones and family, ultimately places victims of domestic abuse at a higher risk. The stress and anxiety of Christmas coupled with the excessive consumption of alcohol can create a potentially volatile environment, particularly in cases of repeated abuse.

Domestic violence is a major problem in the UK, and is acknowledged to be under reported by its victims; the figures that are published are thought to be merely the tip of the iceberg.

Steps have been taken in the last few months to actively strengthen the law on domestic abuse in an attempt to place the welfare of the victim at the heart of the legal system. Proposals to expand the statutory definition of abuse to include coercive and controlling behaviour have been approved. The new offence holds a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a fine.

The home office believe that the introduction of the new law will protect victims by outlawing acts of physical and emotional violence that were not previously encompassed within old legislation. Victims of coercive and controlling behaviour are often subject to long term psychological damage at the hands of their abuser, including relentless acts of intimidation and humiliation.

The introduction of the new offence can be seen as a direct response into the ongoing investigation commissioned by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, into police response to domestic abuse. A national oversight group will also be implemented to carry out the report’s recommendations in an attempt to further strengthen how the police deal with cases of domestic violence.

Here at Farleys are experienced Family Law department have a wealth of experience supporting victims of domestic violence. If you require legal advice please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0845 050 1958 or alternatively you can email us.