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 (especially relevant for victims with disabilities).
- 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.