Prison for BKs? Coercive Control Now Criminal Offence in UK

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Prison for BKs? Coercive Control Now Criminal Offence in UK

Post20 Oct 2016

"Coercive control" is now a criminal offence in the UK punishable by a 5 year prison sentence ... and, most interestingly, it does not require the victim alone to report it. The new offence, which unfortunately does not have retrospective effect, came into force on 29 December 2015.

Potentially (it is a largely untried law, especially within cult related abuses), it offers family members an opportunity to bring the likes of the Brahma Kumaris to justice.

A lot of the definitions clearly apply to BKism.
If anyone knows of a current case of where the Brahma Kumaris are exhibiting undue influence over a family member in the UK, please get in touch with us and we will provide all the support we can.

See also recent discussion in the news, Controlling or coercive domestic abuse to risk five-year prison term.
The Government definition also outlines the following:

    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.
The phrase 'substantial adverse effect on usual day-to-day activities' may include, but is not limited to:

    Stopping or changing the way someone socialises
    Physical or mental health deterioration
    A change in routine at home including those associated with mealtimes or household chores
    Attendance record at school
    Putting in place measures at home to safeguard themselves or their children
    Changes to work patterns, employment status or routes to work

Having a quick look at "3.2 Relevant Behaviours" we find ...
Prosecutors are advised that a pattern of controlling or coercive behaviour can be well established before a single incident is reported. In many cases the conduct might seem innocent - especially if considered in isolation of other incidents - and the victim may not be aware of, or be ready to acknowledge, abusive behaviour. The consideration of the cumulative impact of controlling or coercive behaviour and the pattern of behaviour within the context of the relationship is crucial.

Building on examples within the Statutory Guidance, relevant behaviour of the perpetrator can include:

    Isolating a person from their friends and family
    Depriving them of their basic needs
    Monitoring their time
    Taking control over aspects of their everyday life, such as where they can go, who they can see, what to wear and when they can sleep
    Depriving them access to support services, such as specialist support or medical services
    Repeatedly putting them down such as telling them they are worthless
    Enforcing rules and activity which humiliate, degrade or dehumanise the victim
    Financial abuse including control of finances, such as only allowing a person a punitive allowance
    Control ability to go to school or place of study
    Taking wages, benefits or allowances
    Threats to reveal or publish private information (e.g. threatening to 'out' someone)
    Preventing a person from being able to attend school, college or University
    Family 'dishonour'
    Reputational damage
    Limiting access to family, friends and finances

    This is not an exhaustive list and prosecutors should be aware that a perpetrator will often tailor the conduct to the victim, and that this conduct can vary to a high degree from one person to the next. It will be open to the courts to consider acts by a defendant and to conclude whether those acts constitute criminal behaviour.

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