By Melanie Newman for Law Gazette
15th April 2019
The law on domestic abuse, coercive control and violence has changed. But antiquated attitudes die hard and every step forward is a struggle, hears Melanie Newman
Coercive control and domestic violence are at the heart of two cases that hit the headlines this year. But are the justice system and judges up to the task of assessing coercive control, domestic abuse and violence? Default attitudes seem deeply ingrained. Nicola Stocker went all the way to the Supreme Court to establish that describing an assault that left red marks on her neck had not ‘libelled’ her husband. Sally Challen spent nine years in prison for the murder of her abusive husband, who subjected her to decades of coercive and controlling behaviour. Her conviction quashed, she may yet face a retrial. If this occurs, it will be a test for the court’s understanding of the law. Mixed results – and messages – from these cases are characteristic of this field of law.
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