Coercive control is a pattern of behaviour seeking to take away the victim’s liberty or freedom, to strip away their sense of self.
It is not just a women’s bodily integrity which is violated but also their human rights.
Traditionally domestic violence has been understood to be an incident or series of incidents of physical violence perpetrated by a partner or ex-partner. Indeed sometimes it is understood to be a fight between partners.
Coercive behaviour is not primarily a crime of violence, it is first and foremost a liberty crime, this is not intended to play down the level or scope of physical violence that can occur within domestic abuse (although sometimes no physical violence is used at all, or the violence that is used may appear minor in the eyes of the Law), but to highlight what is significant – control. Tactics that can be used are isolation, degradation, mind games and small regulations of everyday life ie monitoring phone calls, dress, food consumption, social activity etc. The perpetrator creates a world in which the victim is constantly monitored and criticised, every move is checked against an unpredictable, over bearing and unknowing rule book. The rules are based on the perpetrator’s stereotyped view of how his partner should behave towards him, rules about how she cooks, house keeps, mothers, performs sexually and socialises are all monitored. Surveillance continues even when the perpetrator is not present ie constant phone calls or texts, using children to report on movements etc. The victim feels like they are constantly walking on egg shells and their world is an everyday terror.
Coercive control is a criminal offence. It can be reported to the Police, they may give your abuser a Warning or they may arrest him for a criminal offence, if the Police have enough evidence they will refer the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service (the CPS). The CPS can start criminal proceedings against your abuser. If he is found guilty of an offence he can be sentenced up to five years in prison or made to pay a fine or both.
If you have any queries on Coercive Control please contact Ringrose Law. We have branches in Boston, Grantham, Lincoln, Newark, Sleaford and Spalding.