The Opposition said in December 2017 the RGP said new laws were needed and have urged to criminalise controlling and coercive behaviour in relationships.
A statement continued: “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 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."