Safelives Research has found that 91% of people who have experienced domestic abuse also experienced coercive controlling behaviour.
What is coercive control?
The types of coercive control will differ from victim to victim. Perpetrators will often use a combination of tactics and/or take advantage of any perceived weaknesses or insecurities in order to maximise the victim’s distress. Some examples might include:
- Controlling or observing the victim’s daily activities, including making them account for their time; restricting access to money; restricting their movements (including being locked in the property).
- Isolating the victim from family and friends; intercepting messages or phone calls.
- Constant criticism of victim’s role as a partner, spouse or parent.
- Threats of suicide/homicide/familicide.
- Preventing the victim from taking medication or accessing care. This is especially relevant for victims with disabilities or those requiring long term medication for example those with epilepsy, diabetes, HIV, and trans and non binary people who may be taking hormone treatment.
- Using children to control their partner, eg threats to take the children away.
- Extreme dominance: a sense of ‘entitlement’ to partner or the partner’s services, obedience etc – no matter what.
- Extreme jealousy (“If I can’t have you, no one can”), giving the victim cause to believe they will act on this.
- Threats to damage the property and cause injury to pets.
- Threats to expose sensitive information (eg sexual activity) or make false allegations to family members, religious or local community including via photos or the internet.
- Involvement of wider family members or the community; crimes in the name of ‘honour’.
- Manipulation of information given to professionals.