In what appears to be a first-of-its-kind piece of legislation, France has enacted a law that criminalizes “psychological abuse” by one spouse against another. The law applies to cohabiting couples as well as married couples.
The law is expected to cover a wide variety of verbal behavior, including repeated rude remarks, insults, false allegations of mis-behavior, and verbal threats of physical violence. French police have been urged to issue a caution for first offenses, but repeat offenders could face fines, restraining orders, and even jail time.
Opponents of the law contend that it is a gimmick aimed to please feminist lobbyists, and will be impossible to implement. But French premier Francois Fillon, who announced the law, said: ‘The creation of this offence will allow us to deal with the most insidious situations – situations that leave no visible scars, but which leave victims torn up inside.’