50 Shades of Grey Law
Christian Grey could be languishing in a cell at Belmarsh prison, waiting for his most spectacular moment in the spotlight of world media, because as a result of the Serious Crimes Act 2015 he risks a five-year sentence.
A person now commits an offence if they repeatedly or continuously engage in controlling or coercive behaviour towards another person that they are in an intimate personal relationship if their behaviour has a serious effect on the other person and the person engaging knows or ought to know this is the case. The Grey area is that we don’ know what the effect of a BDSM Contract might be, although you’re clearly in a worse position without the contract.
I don’t suppose we should be really that surprised yet again the legislature and the lawmakers in the UK have inadvertently attacked bondage and its practices and that it was missed by the community because hidden away in the Serious Crimes Act 2015 under the provisions for the protection of domestic violence.
But the effect of the legislation is chilling.
and to be fair to the legislators, if you read Danielle’s Story story, and Annabella’s Story, there’s little difference except that Danielle was a willing slave, and Annabella’s story is one of domestic abuse and how do you tell this from Tinkerbelle’s Story ?.
If a Dom wants to leave a slave, all she has to do is make a complaint under s76 and “clink” you can hear the cell doors closing already.
The fact that the slave makes no complaint or asks not to proceed does not prevent the prosecution. The binding guidelines issued with the law states that if the “authorities” consider that there was controlling or coercive behaviour amounting to abuse, then the prosecution should proceed.
And you can bet your last dollar or euro, that Superintendant Plod will readily take the view that when you’re been keeping your slave without clothes and using her as a sex object for three years, so that she’s dependent upon you and having read the psychotherapist report (who of course doesn’t understand the BDSM arena) that states that the relationship was abusive and damaged her psychological state….
So if you decide to opt for trial?
It is accepted by the prosecution that she asked to be a slave, but she says “I didn’t understand what was fully expected, I didn’t realise what I was getting into. I know I could have left at any time, but I was vulnerable, the more I stayed the more I thought I wanted it.“.
Unless you have die-hard Fifty Shades fans on the jury, when they hear about
– three weeks of pony play;
– four weeks blindfolded;
– having sex with the Dom’s friends when they visit, sometimes blindfolded;
– being told what clothes to wear;
– engaging in autoerotic asphyxiophilia (air play);
– having to display herself to Dom and friends upon request;
– being told to be naked at dinner parties;
– no access to calendars or diaries
– no access to phones
– being humiliated;
– being repeatedly told she’s worthless etc
the jury is likely to consider that this is an abusive environment.
The judge and prosecutor won’t help because they’ve seen exactly the same behaviour in proper domestic violence and they weren’t there, so they don’t know whether this started as domestic violence and resulted in the “victim” believing they’re a voluntary slave or whether they started as a “slave” and were exploited.
Any you only need to add in a few elements of vulnerability to make things much worse for the Dom so that a jury take the view that the Dom took advantage of a vulnerable person. So if the victim has been self-harming (cutting or burning), has an eating disorder or a history of overdose or drugs use depression or anxiety, then the jury will rapidly consider that the Dom’s behaviour was a coercive or controlling activity (and it should be remembered that between one in 12 and 1 in 15 people self-harm and one in 10 people suffer depression.
And in many cases of BDSM slavery, the slave gives her absolutely to the Dom/Master and he wholly controls her. (This may be 24 x 7 or it could be once she gets home from vanilla work and until she goes back to vanilla work) and she wants that control, entirely, knowing that she can take back the control by the “leave” safeword …..but for many slaves, the leave is an unthinkable event!
And would a slavery contract help?
This is unclear. If its the sort of free contracts you find on some sites, then no. There isn’t a slavery contract on this site as we haven’t done slavery.
There are four elements of the new offence
The law is designed to protect those who experience the type of behaviour that stops short of serious physical violence (which existing law covers), but amounts to extreme psychological and emotional abuse
1. Repeatedly or continuously engages in coercive or controlling activity – This can be anything that is controlling or coercive and is repeatedly or continuously done. The law says that if you violate the trust of your slave and provide emotional and controlling abuse, this will not be tolerated but fails to look at the edges of the law as they cover
2. At the time of the behaviour, A and B are personally connected
This arises if either
a) A is in an intimate personal relationship with B, or
b) A and B live together as members of the same family, (married, engaged to marry or enter civil partners, civil partners, relatives, parents of the same child, shared parental responsibility)
c) A and B live together and have previously been in an intimate personal relationship with each other.
3. Having Serious effect on B
The behaviour has a serious effect on B, if it causes B to fear, on at least two occasions, that violence will be used against B, or if it causes B serious alarm or distress which has a substantial adverse effect on B’s usual day-to-day activities.
4. Reasonable or Expected Knowledge of Effect
A knows or ought to know that the behaviour will have a serious effect on B. The test is something which a reasonable person in possession of the same information would know.
Defences: No offence is committed if B is under 16 and A is a person who has parental responsibility for him/her (within the meaning of the Children Act 1989); or is otherwise legally liable to maintain him/her or otherwise has care of him/her and a person who is presumed to be responsible for a child or young person shall not be taken to have ceased to be responsible for him by reason only that he does not have care of him.
It is also a defence to show that in engaging in the behaviour in question, A believed that he or she was acting in B’s best interests, and the behaviour was in all the circumstances reasonable unless the behaviour causes B to fear that violence will be used against B when the defence is not available.
The statutory powers incorporate the guidance and the key guidance at the date of writing is at http://tinyurl.com/SCABDSM.
The guidance states that the law sends a clear message that this form of domestic abuse can constitute a serious offence particularly in light of the violation of trust it represents and will provide better protection to victims experiencing repeated or continuous abuse. It sets out the importance of recognising the harm caused by coercion or control, the cumulative impact on the victim and that a repeated pattern of abuse can be more injurious and harmful than a single incident of violence.
It is a purposeful pattern of behaviour which takes place over time in order for one individual to exert power, control or coercion over another. 11. This new offence focuses responsibility and accountability on the perpetrator who has chosen to carry out these behaviours. 12. The cross-Government definition of domestic violence and abuse1 outlines controlling or coercive behaviour as follows: Controlling behaviour is: a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour. Coercive behaviour is: a continuing act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.”
The behaviour covered which is not an exclusive list includes monitoring their time; monitoring a person via online communication tools or using spyware;taking control over some aspects of their everyday life, such as what to wear and when they can sleep; repeatedly putting them down such as telling them they are worthless; enforcing rules and activity which humiliate, degrade or dehumanise the victim.
The controlling or coercive behaviour must take place “repeatedly or continuously”. Continuously means on an ongoing basis. This could mean, but is not limited to, actions which cause the victim to change their way of living. Behaviour displayed on only one occasion would not amount to repeated or continuous behaviour and courts may look for evidence of a pattern of behaviour established over a period of time rather than, for example, one or two isolated incidents which do not appear to establish a pattern
The pattern of behaviour has to have a “serious effect” on the victim- this means that they have been caused to EITHER fear that violence will be used against them on “at least two occasions”, OR they have been caused serious alarm or distress which has a substantial adverse effect3 on the victim’s usual day-to-day activities, this will usually require there to have been more than one incident. The offence does not state that the victim must fear violence that may be committed by the perpetrator only. For example, the victim may fear that the perpetrator has asked another person to commit violence against them
Whilst the act is celarly targetted at those with physical disability, mental health difficulties, learning difficulties and long term health conditions, those from black and minority ethnic (BME) background, those subject to immigration control exploited by perpetrators to exert control over victims, for example, by threatening to inform immigration authorities, or to no longer support their stay, fear of losing children, financial abuse, victims who use alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism, or to block out what is happening to them, Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender (LGB&T) individuals in relationships may also suffer threats to reveal sexual orientation, Forced Marriage, “So called” “Honour Based” Violence/Abuse (HBV) including Female Genital Mutilation
Behaviour that occurred before implementation may still be adduced as evidence of bad character
Examples of the types of evidence that could be used in relation to this offence include: copies of emails; phone records; text messages; evidence of abuse over the internet, digital technology and social media platforms; evidence of an assault;lifestyle and household including at scene photographic evidence;
And even if the victim says it’s OK, that’s not enough
Sometimes, victims will ask the police not to proceed any further with the case and say that they no longer wish to give evidence. There may be a number of explanations for this. This does not mean that the case will automatically be stopped
In order to be able to rely on the defence, a defendant needs to show that they believed that they were acting in the best interests of the victim and that their actions were reasonable in the circumstances. Therefore, a person who genuinely believed that they were acting in the other person’s best interests but where a reasonable person with access to the same information would not find that behaviour to have been reasonable would not be able to rely on the defence.
Investigate the history of the relationship and recognise the dynamics including any power imbalance and consider how this impacts on the victim in terms of gender, age, finances, LGB&T etc.; Record any crimes and any previous incidents and place a domestic abuse flag on them, following National Crime Recording Standards;