Written 24th April 2023 by Matthew Claughton
CPS updated guidance 24 April 2023The Crown Prosecution Service has updated guidance on ‘controlling and coercive behaviour’ as well as ‘stalking’ or ‘harassment’ providing advice to prosecutors to consider how ‘love bombing’ may have influenced a victim.
What is ‘Love Bombing’?‘Love bombing’ may be when suspected offenders use displays of affection, perhaps intermittently carrying out what appears to be loving acts, for example; sending flowers, messages, gifts, the rewarding of ‘good behaviour’ with gifts or compliments. Kate Brown, National League for Domestic Abuse at the Crown Prosecution Service states; “Sometimes we see, particularly at the beginning of the relationship, a big showering of love and affection”. She goes on to state “we do not underestimate the impact of stalking or controlling or coercive behaviour on victims who can be forced to change their daily routines, left in fear of their life and totally consumed by this offending”.
Matthew Claughton: ‘Love Bombing’ on BBC Radio 1Listen here to Matthew Claughton discussing ‘love bombing’ on BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat. Matthew discusses the effect this will have on the Crown Prosecution Service, the signs of ‘love bombing’ and that the new guidance may help in more of the right people being prosecuted.
Has the law changed in relation to controlling and coercive behaviour?No, the inclusion of ‘love bombing’ in guidance is meant to assist crown prosecutors in making what is known as a ‘charging decision’. Statutory guidance on the Crown Prosecution Service website contains numerous examples of what may constitute ‘repeated or continued behaviour that is controlling or coercive’. Essentially the offence of controlling and coercive behaviour involves a pattern of behaviour, accumulative impact of controlling and coercive behaviour, crucially the issue will be whether the pattern of behaviour amounts to fear that violence will be carried out or serious alarm or distress leading to a substantial effect on usual day to day activities.
Code for Crown Prosecutors, Charging StandardA decision on charge should still depend upon whether an offence is made out. The charging standard contained within the Code for Crown Prosecutors requires a ‘realistic prospect of a conviction’. There is no suggestion that ‘love bombing’ in itself, particularly at the outset of a relationship is a crime.
How can Olliers help if I am investigated for controlling and coercive behaviour?The specialist team at Olliers frequently represents clients facing allegations of controlling or coercive behaviour. This is a sensitive area of law and the investigations are often linked to allegations of assault or domestic abuse. At Olliers, we understand the complexity of cases involving allegations of domestic abuse. We appreciate that matters are rarely as straightforward as may be initially be presented by police or prosecutors who will inevitably have only one side of the story. During the investigation stage of the case, we will liaise with police in a sensitive manner. Where an allegation is denied we will ensure that our client’s case is presented meticulously. If the matter proceeds to court, we will ensure that no stone is left unturned in the defence of our client. Cases of a domestic nature can often involve limited supporting evidence and result in the account of the complainant versus the account of the defendant. Click here to read more about how we deal with such cases at the pre-charge investigative stage. If you face an allegation of controlling and coercive behaviour, please contact our specialist team on 0161 834 1515, by email to email@example.com or complete the form below.
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Olliers’ Managing Director Matthew Claughton is widely regarded as having steered the firm to its market leading position.
Matthew is an outstanding criminal lawyer ranked by the Legal 500 2024 as a top tier practitioner in criminal law as well as the Northern Powerhouse Criminal Lawyer of the Year 2023.