Bullying husbands targeted in domestic violence crackdown

Husbands could face prosecution for emotional abuse as domestic violence laws are tightened

Men accused of bullying or psychologically abusing their wives could face criminal charges under new domestic laws which will target anyone exercising coercive control over their partner.

The changes, proposed by Liberal Democrat ministers as part of a review published this week, could mean men who treat their wives in a controlling manner could be prosecuted, even if they’ve never caused physical harm.

The bullying laws are also likely to mean that parents who force their children into arranged marriages will face criminalaction.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister David Cameron described forced marriages as little more than slavery with up to 3,000 British Asians forced into marriages every year.

In the UK, about one in four women is thought to be a victim of domestic violence but figures suggest that only one in 15 cases that reach the criminal justice system leads to a conviction.

Despite a government-agreed definitionof domestic violence already existing, ministers fear police, councils and government agencies are not applying this rigorously enough, and will consult on whether a new legal description should be put in place.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone will launch the proposals on Wednesday.

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