11 things your partner might do to you that are illegal:
1) Share sexually explicit images of you – either online or not
New laws surrounding ‘revenge porn’ make it against the law for someone to share intimate photographs of you with anyone, whether that is on or offline.
2) Restrict your access to money
Even if they are the breadwinner, the law says one partner cannot stop the other from accessing money and should not give them “punitive allowances”.
Domestic violence charity Refuge said it had seen cases where victims were forced to provide receipts for all spending or given such small allowances that they couldn’t afford to buy food for themselves and their children. Doing this could now be grounds for prosecution.
3) Repeatedly put you down
Constantly being insulted by your partner? You might not think this is domestic abuse, but the law says this persistent name-calling, mocking and other insulting
behaviour is illegal.
Alison Saunders, director of public prosecutions, said: “Being subjected to repeated humiliation, intimidation or subordination can be as harmful as physical abuse, with many victims stating that trauma from psychological abuse had a more lasting impact than physical abuse.”
4) Stop you seeing friends or family
If your partner continually isolates you from the people that love you, alarm bells should ring. Whether it takes the form of monitoring or blocking your calls or emails, telling you where you can or cannot go, or stopping you seeing your friends or relatives, this behaviour is against the law.
5) Scare you
Maybe they don’t physically assault you, but if they are doing enough to frighten you then they are committing an offence.
Women’s Aid says this can include, but is not limited to – making angry gestures; using physical size to intimidate; shouting you down; destroying your possessions; breaking things; punching walls; wielding a knife or a gun; threatening to kill or harm you and the children; threatening to kill or harm family pets; threats of suicide.
6) Threaten to reveal private things about you
Whether it’s saying they will tell people details about your health or sexual orientation, repeated threats to reveal personal and private information is a form of abuse.
7) Put tracking devices on your phone
The Crown Prosecution Service says it is illegal to “monitor a person using online communication tools or spyware”. So if they are spying on your Facebook messages, or insisting they track your devices, it is against the law.
8) Being extremely jealous
If your partner persistently accuses you of cheating simply for looking at another person, then this could be grounds for prosecution. Humberside Police, for example, says “extreme jealously, including possessiveness and ridiculous accusations of cheating” all come under the legislation.
9) Make you obey their rules
A relationship should be a partnership, with neither partner having control over the other. So if you are forced to abide by rules they set, it could well mean they are committing a crime. The CPS says these include rules which “humiliate, degrade or dehumanise the victim”, while Women’s Aid says examples include telling you that you have no choice in decisions.
10) Control what you wear
Taking control over any part of your life is highlighted under the law. This includes who you can see and where you can go, but even controlling what you wear or how you look could now be grounds for prosecution.
11) Forcing you to do things you don’t want to
It could be that your partner is forcing you to commit crimes, neglect or abuse your children, or simply forces you not to reveal anything about your relationship to the authorities – it all counts as abuse. This also includes making you have sex when you don’t want to, forcing you to look at pornographic material, or forcing you to have sex with others.
Alison Saunders said: “This behaviour, which is particularly relevant to cases of domestic abuse, can now be prosecuted in its own right. Police and prosecutors are being trained to recognise patterns of abusive behaviour which can be regarded as criminal abuse. We will do everything in our power to tackle this abhorrent crime” (Getwestlondon, on line, 11/04/2018).
If you think you are in danger call 999. If you want to report abuse to the police call 101, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for support.