The Supreme Court has ruled that courts should recognise psychological domestic abuse as well as just physical violence:
Lady Hale said that ‘violence’ can also include ‘strength or intensity of emotion, fervour and passion’.
She said the legal understanding of domestic violence had moved on ‘from a narrow focus upon battered wives and physical contact’.
The Justice of the Supreme Court said the meaning of ‘violence’ under the 1996 Act should be brought up to date in line with modern thinking.
Lady Hale added: ‘The essential question is whether an updated meaning is consistent with the statutory purpose.
‘In this case the purpose (of the Act) is to ensure that a person is not obliged to remain living in a home where she, her children or other members of her household are at risk of harm.’
The Daily Mail hack covering this story has hidden behind the ubiquitous ‘Daily Mail Reporter’ and the headline writer decided that this headline was appropriate: ‘Women entitled to a council house if they move out because their partner shouts at them, top judges rule’. Yes, that really is the headline. It goes without saying that the hack puts inverted commas around ‘violence’, ‘abused’ and ‘homeless’ because clearly if a women isn’t physically beaten then they are not victims of violence or abuse and they should stay at home to be psychologically abused.
Incidentally the female victim in the case that led to the ruling described her treatment as:
Mrs Yemshaw had told the housing officers that her husband, who rented the property in his sole name, shouted in front of the children and did not treat her ‘like a human’.
Still, she should be grateful that she wasn’t really a victim of ‘violence’ or ‘abuse’, eh?