Bolton Council is backing a bid to create a criminal offence for when coercive control is a cause of suicide.

The authority approved a motion by Aalaina Khan over the course of a meeting at the town hall last week.

There was applause across the council chamber for Cllr Khan, a councillor for Hulton Ward, after a speech in which she said there is no criminal offence for when coercive control is a cause of suicide.

She asked for the council leader, Nick Peel, to write to Andy Burnham and all Bolton MPs and for the chief executive, Sue Johnson, to write to the Home Secretary asking for action to change the law.

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Cllr Khan said: "The cause of domestic abuse suicide can be complex, nevertheless, in France, there is an offence of causing domestic abuse suicide and, if domestic abuse is prominent, the perpetrator can expect a sentence of up to 10 years. 

"No such law exists in the UK. Although case law exists allowing prosecution for manslaughter in certain circumstances, in practice, this is rare."

At the end of last year a petition by Sharon Holland, whose daughter Chloe Holland took her own life, received more than 17,500 signatures.

The government responded to Ms Holland, from Portsmouth, towards the start of this year saying there is no need for action to change the law.

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The government's response said: "A central issue in relation to an allegation of manslaughter in the context of a person taking their own life is whether an unlawful act caused the death. In the context of coercive and controlling behaviour, the unlawful act could be the last instance of abuse, or it could be a course of conduct involving numerous instances of abuse.

"Proving a causal link between the abuse and the death is always likely to be challenging but the law is capable of covering manslaughter caused by an unlawful act. Creating a specific offence of manslaughter caused by coercive or controlling behaviour would not overcome the evidential difficulties."

In Bolton, those affected by domestic abuse are able to access charities like Endeavour and Fortalice.

For information on Endeavour go to and on Fortalice go to

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.