03:33PM, Thursday 28 July 2016
A 25-year-old man from Maidenhead has been jailed after becoming the first person in the Thames Valley to be convicted of controlling or coercive behaviour.
Steven Strong, of no fixed address, was jailed for two-and-a-half years at Reading Crown Court on July 11 after being found guilty of controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship under Section 76 (1) of the Serious Crime Act 2015.
The new offence only came into force on December 29, and is described as ‘an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten the victim’.
The charge relates to an offence between December 30 and March 28 against a 23-year-old woman in Maidenhead.
Strong was found guilty by unanimous jury following a four-day trial, but was found not guilty of criminal damage and assault by beating.
He was arrested and charged with the offences on March 29.
Designated case investigator, Caithrin Roche from the Domestic Abuse Investigation Unit, said: “Thames Valley Police will take action to protect victims of such behaviour and prosecute offenders in court. “The conviction and sentencing of Strong shows how seriously this offence is taken and I hope it encourages other victims of domestic abuse, including non-physical abuse, to come forward and speak to us and our partners and get the support and protection they need.”
Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “Domestic abuse can have a devastating impact on the lives of victims and the CPS is committed to robustly and effectively prosecuting such offences. The nature of the controlling or coercive behaviour offence is such that it is often very difficult for victims to report their abuse to the police as they may feel frightened of the consequences if they do. My message to victims is clear - if you feel you are a victim of this kind of controlling or coercive behaviour, or any other kind of domestic abuse, then please come forward and, with the police, we will do everything we can to bring offenders to justice."
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