In Government the GSD would commit to introducing new legislation to bring domestic violence lawscompletely up to date to include controlling/coercive behaviour and recognise all forms of no-physical abuse.
In 2018 over 337 reports of domestic violence were received by Royal Gibraltar Police with over 100 cases being
reported in each month of July and August alone.
The actual incidence of domestic violence is likely to be much higher than the official statistics reveal given the
reluctance of people to report this form of abuse. It is clear that domestic violence takes up a large part of our police
resources and the increasing incidence is likely to put more pressure on those resources. We need to support our law
enforcements agencies, care agency and domestic violence charities in tackling this abuse and the non-physical forms.
In December 2017 the RGP recognised the need for law reform in this area and to criminalise controlling and coercive
behaviour in intimate family relationships. In February 2018 the Opposition sought confirmation from the Government
that they intended to criminalise such damaging and abusive behaviour. Regrettably and despite calls from our law
enforcement agencies and the Opposition, a year on, the Government has not brought legislation to criminalise this
type of abuse. In parallel the Opposition is of the view that more needs to be done alongside the good work being
done by domestic violence charities and organisations to increase awareness of domestic violence and more subtle
forms of abuse amongst the general population.
Elliott Phillips MP said:
” Gibraltar is trailing far behind in relation domestic abuse law. The United Kingdom criminalised coercive and
controlling behaviour back in 2015 and last month the UK Government indicate that it will widen the scope further to
include economic abuse in an attempt continue to strengthen the law in this area. Domestic violence is complex and
the forms are varied. Domestic violence is not limited to physical abuse there is emotional and economic abuse driven
by coercive and controlling behaviour. There may be many victims in our community suffering in silence who feel
trapped in an abusive relationships and because of their limited resources they are unable to remove themselves
from the coercive and controlling behaviour of the perpetrator “
Mr Phillips went on to say:
“In Government we would commit, in close consultation with our law enforcement agencies, the care
agency and NGOs, to introduce legislation to bring our domestic violence laws completely update to date within the
first 100 days of being elected. In the meantime I will continue to press the Government in and outside Parliament as
to these essential changes to our laws. Law reform is one thing but it is also very important that we tackle this subject
and engage with victims and indeed those that conduct these more subtle and non-physical forms of abuse as part of
a wider strategy to tackle domestic violence.”