Cheshire's police and crime commissioner has welcomed a new law that targets domestic abusers.

The legislation means victims who experience coercive and controlling behaviour that stops short of serious physical violence, but amounts to extreme psychological and emotional abuse, can bring the person abusing them to justice.

PCC John Dwyer said: “Key to the work I do is meeting with and listening to the concerns of survivors of domestic abuse. This enables me to understand some of the issues the police face when dealing with cases of domestic abuse.

“So to see this new legislation is very pleasing. It allows police officers to prosecute where there is evidence of controlling behaviour, which previously was difficult to do and is something I have identified as a concern for survivors of domestic abuse.”

Legislation 'closes the gap in the law'

The offence carries a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, a fine or both.

PCC Dwyer added: “The legislation has been designed to close a gap in the law around patterns of controlling or coercive behaviour in an ongoing relationship between intimate partners or family members.”

‘Controlling behaviour’ is defined as a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

‘Coercive behaviour’ is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten a victim.

Police & Crime Commissioner for Cheshire John Dwyer at work