This could include preventing a partner from seeing family or friends, keeping them short of money, controlling their social media accounts, spying on their communications or determining aspects of their everyday life, such as when they eat, sleep or even go to the toilet.
Prosecutors are determined to tackle the problem of perpetrators who trap their victims in a ‘living hell’ with repeated threats, humiliation and intimidation. Research has shown that 30 per cent of women – about five million – and 16 per cent of men, or 2.5million, experience domestic abuse during their lives.
Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said: ‘Controlling or coercive behaviour can limit victims’ basic human rights, such as their freedom of movement and their independence.
‘This behaviour can be incredibly harmful in an abusive relationship where one person holds more power than the other, even if on the face of it this behaviour might seem playful, innocuous or loving.