Prosecutions of controlling or coercive behaviour in England and Wales

Paul McGorrery1, Marilyn McMahon1
1Deakin Law School, Burwood, Australia

In December 2015 a new offence came into effect in England and Wales: controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship. Similar offences have now been been enacted in Scotland and Ireland, and have also been considered by a number of Australian researchers. In order to better inform whether Australian jurisdictions should adopt an offence that directly criminalises non-physical family violence, we reviewed and coded secondary sources pertaining to 145 offenders charged with the new offence in England and Wales in the first 28 months of its operation (to 30 April 2018). This presentation provides an overview of key findings from that research, including the age and gender of victims and perpetrators, the types of relationships between them, the sentencing outcomes for convicted offenders, and the types of behaviours that most frequently constituted the criminal course of conduct.

Paul McGorrery is a PhD candidate at Deakin Law School, and Marilyn McMahon is the Deputy Dean of Deakin Law School. Their research area is in the criminalisation of non-physical family violence. They have hosted a roundtable on the topic, published a number of articles, and will soon release an edited book with contributions from criminal law and family violence experts.



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