It’s not that I’m a cynic about human relationships or anything but:
Domestic abuse involving “emotional blackmail” – but no violence – could become a criminal offence carrying a heavy jail term under tough new measures published for the first time.
Campaigners are drawing up a draft Bill which proposes making it illegal to “make contact with a victim in an aggressive way” and for a partner to “intend to control or coerce” their spouse.
Anyone found guilty of the new offence would face up to 14 years’ imprisonment.
That control or coerce part looks a bit dodgy to me.
The Bill offers a wide definition of the kinds of behaviour that should be criminalised, including attempts to exert financial control over a spouse or partner.
That men earn more than women and that women decide upon the spending of 80% of disposable income are both facts. And there would seem to be more than a smidgeon of financial control being exerted there.
Critically, its definition of abuse includes “controlling or coercive behaviour” which would “encompass but is not limited to physical, financial, sexual, psychological or emotional abuse”.
“Controlling behaviour” would also lead to criminal charges, including when a partner makes another person “subordinate”, “exploits their resources” or “deprives them of the means needed for independence”.
And that’s similarly a stunningly wide description. It could apply, for example, to the withdrawal of nookie until he agrees to splash out for that new sofa. And as to depriving them of the means of independence. Does that mean that divorce settlements where the bloke ends up living in a bedsit will now lead to 14 years in pokey for the ex-wife?
Hell, the way this is being described that tsk! followed by a deep sigh and the relegation to the second bedroom for being a bit tipsy could be described as “emotional blackmail”.
I’m deeply unconvinced that this has been thought through. And sure, my examples are extreme. But I can’t see anything in this that suggest that such activities won’t be covered by it.
Hmm, I wonder whether threatening to report someone under this law for not offering the nookie in a controlling manner would be evidence of a crime being committed by not so offering or evidence of an intention to control or coerce and thus the threat of revelation being a crime?