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Domestic Abuse and Civil Proceedings Act (Northern Ireland) 2021

Section 4: Meaning of behaviour etc.

This section further explains what is meant by behaviour for the purposes of Chapter 1. Subsection (2) provides that behaviour includes saying or otherwise communicating something as well as doing something (including an intentional failure to do, say, or otherwise communicate something).  This could include, for example, a failure to pass on times and dates of appointments or social occasions, a failure to feed a family pet or a failure to speak to or communicate with an individual.

Subsection (3) clarifies that behaviour is directed at a person if it is directed in any way.  This would include, for example, behaviour involving or towards property or behaviour that affects the ability to acquire, use, maintain money or other property or to obtain goods or services. This could relate to shared property or property belonging to parents.  Property will also include pets or other animals (for example agricultural livestock) whether belonging to the victim or others.

The section also provides that behaviour directed at a person includes behaviour carried out with or through a third party, for example by spying on or reporting on the activities of a partner/connected person.  The third party’s involvement could be unwitting or unwilling, as they may be entirely unaware that their behaviour was helping the accused to abuse their partner/connected person or they may have been coerced into participating in the abuse.

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Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.


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