Updated: Feb 20, 2022
Coercive control is an 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. Coercive control - Womens Aid
Coercive Control is a persistent pattern of controlling, coercive and threatening behaviour including all or some forms of domestic abuse (emotional, physical, financial, sexual including threats) by a boyfriend/girlfriend, partner, husband/wife or ex-partner.
This can have a serious impact including the fear of violence, cause serious alarm and distress and can result in a person giving up work, changing their routines, losing contact with family and friends. Coercive control can damage a person’s physical and emotional well-being.
Coercive control can be difficult to detect from the outside looking into a relationship, so too can it be hard to spot when in the relationship itself. As the behaviour worsens and each iteration of abuse becomes a new normal, low self-esteem is just one of the many factors that can stop victims from seeing the reality of their situation.
Coercive control is a criminal offence where a person knowingly and persistently engages in behaviour that:
is controlling or coercive,
has a serious effect on a relevant person, and a reasonable person would consider it likely to have a serious effect on a relevant person.
A relevant person is:
a spouse or civil partner,
not a spouse, civil partner, or related to the other person but is or was in an intimate relationship with that other person.
Serious effect is described as behaviour that causes the person to fear that violence will be used against them or the behaviour causes serious alarm or distress that has a substantial impact on their day to day activities.
While a person may have been subjected to coercive control prior to the 1st of January 2019, coercive control only became a criminal offence since this date.
Does your partner/ex-partner:
Isolate you from friends and family,
Deprive you of basic needs, such as food, electricity, heating,
Monitor your time and behaviours,
Monitor you via online communication tools or spyware,
Take control over aspects of your everyday life, such as where you can go, who you can see, what you can wear, when to be home and when you can sleep,
Deprive you access to support services, including medical services,
Repeatedly put you down, for example saying “you’re worthless”,
Humiliate, degrade or dehumanise you,
Control your finances,
Make threats or intimidate you,
Subject you to sexual abuse and/or physical violence.