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.

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