Domestic abuse comes in many forms. When it takes the form of a long-term campaign of control, humiliation, isolation and fear, it is called ‘coercive control’.
How to close this tab quickly:
- Windows – press Ctrl + W
- Mac – press ⌘ Command + W
Coercive control is now a criminal offence and domestic abusers can be fined, imprisoned or given other penalties if they are prosecuted and found guilty in court. Family law solicitors can also help you take civil action for protection against coercive control behaviours.
If you are experiencing coercive control, you can seek civil protection even if you do not want to support criminal charges (or the charges have been dropped, e.g. because the police say they haven’t got enough evidence).
At Crisp & Co, our friendly and supportive domestic abuse solicitors can provide legal advice and help you apply to family court for protection against an abusive partner, former partner or relative. Our service covers:
- Non Molestation Orders/Injunctions – to keep the abusive person away from you
- Occupation Orders – to exclude the abuser from your home
- Prohibited Steps Orders – to keep your children safe
- Divorce and civil partnership dissolution petitions
- Advice for leaving an abusive partner when you are not married or in a civil partnership
- Other advice about keeping you and/or your children safe
We are also here to provide emotional support if the abuser is subject to a coercive control prosecution and can guide towards other valuable support services to help you get through this difficult time.
Our team are Family Law Advanced accredited by the Law Society – this means that we are qualified to take on the most complex and stressful family law matters, such as those involving coercive control.
Get in touch with our domestic abuse solicitors
We are discreet and will keep anything you tell us confidential. This means that we won’t discuss anything you say with anyone else unless you give us your express permission, for example, when applying for a protective court order.
What is coercive control?
Coercive control is when someone you are personally connected to – such as a husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend or family member – keep on behaving in a way that makes you feel controlled, scared, humiliated, isolated and/or threatened.
Rather than isolated incidents, coercive control is a pattern of behaviour. It can often be hard to spot because each incident by itself may be ‘small’ but it feeds into a larger pattern of domestic violence.
Coercive control doesn’t just cover physical violence, it can also include acts of emotional, verbal, financial and sexual abuse. Tech abuse – where someone uses technology to control, frighten or isolate you, such as confiscating your phone or sending people photos of you – is also common.
Coercive control can affect any person of any age, sex, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religious belief or any other personal characteristic.
Coercive control checklist
Spot the signs of coercive control – the following are examples of coercive control behaviours.
Remember – you don’t need to tick every item off this list for it to be coercive control. If you feel controlled, scared, isolated and/or threatened, you can seek legal protection.
- Controlling where you go, what you do, what you wear and who you meet or talk to
- Isolating you from your friends and family
- Threatening to hurt you and/or your children
- Controlling your money, such as limiting how much money you can have, taking over your bank accounts and telling you how you can spend it
- Verbal abuse, such as shouting, calling you names and criticising you
- Damaging your home or belongings
- Jealous behaviours, such as intense paranoia, being possessive and accusing you of cheating
- Blackmailing you, such as threatening to reveal personal information or report you to the police
- Sharing sexually intimate photos or videos without your consent (revenge porn)
- Forcing you to do things you don’t want to do, such as sexual activity or criminal activity
- Tracking you, such as using mobile devices and spyware to monitor and control who you talk to, where you go and what you do
Is coercive control a crime?
Coercive control is now a criminal offence and anyone responsible can be prosecuted and potentially put in prison for up to 5 years.
You can go through criminal and civil proceedings at the same time. So, it is possible to get legal protection if the abusive person is currently out of custody because they are on bail or only being investigated for the crime of coercive control.
You can also get civil protection even if you don’t want to support criminal action against the abusive person or they cannot be prosecuted (for example, because the police say there is not enough evidence to charge them).
We understand that it can be very frustrating and distressing to be told that criminal action under coercive control law is not possible. We encourage you to get in touch to discuss your civil options as obtaining protective orders are usually easier to get than prosecution.
How can our coercive control solicitors help?
If you are experiencing or have experienced coercive control from a partner, former partner or relative, we can provide a wide range of advice and support, for obtaining protective court orders to getting a divorce.