11 things which are illegal for your partner to do – from finances to clothes
When abusive relationships are mentioned, many will instantly think violence springs to mind.
Yet psychological torture can be just as dangerous and is often involved in some form in a significant proportion of cases.
Changes in the law in 2016 designated several forms of mental abuse as illegal.
The Hull Daily Mail compiled this list of 11 types of psychological abuse that partners are prohibited from carrying out.
1) Share sexually explicit images of you – either online or not
New laws surrounding ‘revenge porn’ make it against the law for someone to share intimate photographs of you with anyone, whether that is on or offline.
2) Restrict your access to money
Even if they are the breadwinner, the law says one partner cannot stop the other from accessing money and should not give them "punitive allowances".
Last year, domestic violence charity Refuge said it had seen cases where victims were forced to provide receipts for all spending, or given such small allowances that they couldn’t afford to buy food for themselves and their children. Doing this could be grounds for prosecution under the new legislation.
3) Repeatedly put you down
Constantly being insulted by your partner? You might not think this is domestic abuse, but the new law says this persistent name-calling, mocking and other insulting behaviour is illegal.
Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, said: "Being subjected to repeated humiliation, intimidation or subordination can be as harmful as physical abuse, with many victims stating that trauma from psychological abuse had a more lasting impact than physical abuse."
4) Stop you seeing friends or family
If your partner continually isolates you from the people that love you, alarm bells should ring.
Whether it takes the form of monitoring or blocking your calls or emails, telling you where you can or cannot go, or stopping you seeing your friends or relatives, this behaviour is against the law.
5) Scare you
Maybe they don’t physically assault you, but if they are doing enough to frighten you then they are committing an offence.
Women’s Aid says this can include, but is not limited to, making angry gestures; using physical size to intimidate; shouting you down; destroying your possessions; breaking things; punching walls; wielding a knife or a gun; threatening to kill or harm you and the children; threatening to kill or harm family pets; threats of suicide.
6) Threaten to reveal private things about you
Whether it’s saying they will tell people details about your health or sexual orientation, repeated threats to reveal personal and private information is a form of abuse.
7) Put tracking devices on your phone
The Crown Prosecution Service says it is illegal under the new legislation to ‘monitor a person using online communication tools or spyware’.
So if they are spying on your Facebook messages, or insisting they track your devices, it is against the law.
8) Being extremely jealous
If your partner persistently accuses you of cheating simply for looking at another person, then this could be grounds for prosecution.
Humberside Police, for example, say ‘extreme jealously, including possessiveness and ridiculous accusations of cheating’ all come under the new legislation.
9) Make you obey their rules
A relationship should be a partnership, with neither partner having control over the other. So if you are forced to abide by rules they set, it could well mean they are committing a crime.
The CPS says these include rules which "humiliate, degrade or dehumanise the victim", while Women’s Aid says examples include telling you that you have no choice in decisions.
10) Control what you wear
Taking control over any part of your life is highlighted in the new legislation. This includes who you can see and where you can go, but even controlling what you wear or how you look could now be grounds for prosecution.
11) Forcing you to do things you don’t want to
It could be that your partner is forcing you to commit crimes, neglect or abuse your children, or simply forces you not to reveal anything about your relationship to the authorities – it all counts as abuse.
This also includes making you have sex when you don’t want to, forcing you to look at pornographic material, or forcing you to have sex with others.
Alison Saunders said: "These new powers mean this behaviour, which is particularly relevant to cases of domestic abuse, can now be prosecuted in its own right.
Police and prosecutors are being trained to recognise patterns of abusive behaviour which can be regarded as criminal abuse.
"We will do everything in our power to tackle this abhorrent crime."
If you, or someone you know, is in an abusive relationship, you can report your concerns to police by calling 999 or 101
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