- Figures from the Ministry of Justice show that more than 23,000 applications were made online from when Divorce Online was launched in April 2018 to the end of 2018. The festive holiday period can be an extremely stressful time for relationships so it should probably come as no surprise that between Christmas Eve 2018 and New Year’s Day 2019 455 online divorce applications were made with 13 couples starting their divorce process on Christmas Day.
- On 15th March 2019 the Stalking Protection Act 2019 received Royal Assent. It provides protection from the risks associated with stalking. The Act creates a new Civil Stalking Protection Order (SPO) and breaching a SPO is a criminal offence. The protection assists in circumstances where stalking happens outside of a domestic abuse context or where the perpetrator is not a current or former intimate partner of the victim.
Coercive and controlling domestic abuse
- Coercive or controlling domestic abuse is a crime under Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 and is punishable by up to five years in prison. This is the case even if that abuse stops short of being physical violence. Recently a man who repeatedly beat his pregnant partner has been jailed for three years for displaying controlling and coercive behaviour. Reece Penkert, 20, controlled his partner by stopping her from going anywhere without him, taking away her phone or looking through her messages and ordering her to delete her social networking accounts to the extent that she had little contact with her family and friends. He also stopped her from wearing t-shirts and skirts and constantly accused her of cheating on him. In addition, over the course of their two-year relationship he physically attacked her. At Harrow Crown Crown Court Mr Penkert was sentenced to three years in prison and a Restraining Order preventing him from contacting his victim was also made. He was found guilty of controlling and coercive behaviour and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. This sentence demonstrates that the legislation is being used with prosecutions continuing to be brought in appropriate cases.
Dawn Pennell is a Chartered Legal Executive and Collaborative Lawyer dealing with family law matters at Capron & Helliwell.
Capron & Helliwell offer a fixed fee first appointment for family law matters - please contact Tina Phillippo on 01692-581231/ firstname.lastname@example.org
This article aims to supply general information but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek specific advice. This article was written on 25th
March 2019 and the law may change following this date.