Q: My sister says my wife has controlled my life for years. I used to defend my wife but since the COVID-19 pandemic I have realised my sister is right and things are getting worse. My wife has destroyed my confidence and says I am incapable of making decisions for myself. Back in February I supposedly collapsed in the street after leaving the pub. Someone called an ambulance and also my wife. When my wife came, she refused to let me go to hospital. It turned out I had been mugged and had a head injury. Now she says we cannot have the COVID vaccine because it will poison us. She says we will stay home until the pandemic has ended. She took my phone and credit card and changed the bank passwords. I have nowhere to go. What can I do?
A: Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 introduced a new offence of controlling and coercive behaviour, criminalizing it in an intimate or family relationship where the behaviour has a serious effect on the victim. As described within the Act, controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.
From what you say, it would seem that you have probably been at the receiving end of controlling behaviour for a number of years, making you a victim of domestic abuse. Your first step to escaping the life you now want to leave behind is to make an appointment to see a family solicitor who specialises in domestic abuse and who can advise you of your options. Many law firms such as ourselves offer a free initial consultation to assess your case.
This question has been answered by Deon Hayward, a Trainee Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. In accordance with government guidelines, some of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.
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Part of the Family and Matrimonial team in Wrexham
Deon Hayward is a Solicitor based in our Oswestry office.