It has long been known that domestic abuse adversely affects children’s welfare and therefore, every time that it becomes an issue within Children Act proceedings, the Court needs to consider what the best approach should be.
More latterly, controlling and coercive behavior has been identified as domestic abuse as defined within the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, with the understanding of domestic abuse developing significantly since the 1970s and 1980s, when the focus was on physical violence.
The awareness of the consequences for children exposed to such behaviour has brought about a significant change in the approach to such allegations in the context of child welfare proceedings. The Court has to determine whether or not such behavior occurred, and if so, the impact that it would have had, or could have on the children involved.
It was noted that in most cases, there will be complaints by one party against the other, and quite often, by both. However, it is noted that not all assertive, stubborn or selfish behavior (to name a few examples), can amount to domestic abuse.
The definition to be adopted could be where coercive behavior is used to harm, punish, or frighten the victim and the controlling behavior, as behavior designed to make a person subordinate.
As Children Law practitioners, we have experienced a number of cases where coercive and controlling behavior has been alleged. If you need advice on this issue or any other Children matter then please contact our Children department for further information. We offer a discounted fixed fee appointment for up to one hour, which can be arranged in order to discuss your concerns. Please contact Annette Lowen via the contact form below or by phone on 01702 662963 (Essex) 020 35537115 (London).