Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd has hailed proposed changes to sentencing guidelines that could see domestic violence offences punished more severely than similar crimes outside the home.
Tony said: “For many victims, by the time a domestic violence case comes to the courts, there will often be an untold backstory; a long-running campaign of coercion, control and violence. It is rare for the case heard in court to be the first instance of violence and, sadly, it won’t always be the last.
“These proposed changes quite rightly reflect the severity of the crime and acknowledge the incredible emotional damage and betrayal involved, as well as the physical damage caused.”
A new guideline is intended to cover stalking and harassment and, for the first time, the draft guidelines for judges also include suggested sentences for coercion and control, and revenge pornography, both of which have been recognised as offences in recent years.
The proposals are now subject to public consultation.
The guidelines for revenge porn are designed to reflect the “unpleasant and intrusive” nature of the crime, with more serious sentences potentially coming into play for those that seek to deliberately cause maximum harm and distress by sending images to victims’ families.
Coercion and control is a form of domestic abuse that sees its victims being prevented from controlling their own finances, having friends, taking part in hobbies or taking a job. In some cases, victims are told when they can eat, sleep or go to the toilet.
People in Greater Manchester are encouraged to get comfortable talking about domestic abuse in all its forms – including coercion and control – thanks to the ‘Sitting Right With You’ campaign. The campaign gets people thinking differently about domestic abuse and encourages victims or concerned friends and family to take that first step towards help and support.