It is a criminal offence in England and Wales for someone to subject you to coercive control. Coercive control is when a person you are personally connected with repeatedly behaves in a way that makes you feel controlled, isolated or scared. This could include isolating you from friends and family, controlling your finances, monitoring what you do and where you go, putting you down and making you feel worthless or threatening to harm you, your child or your property. There is not a definitive list of behaviours, as the abuser will use various means to establish controlling or coercive behaviour.
Controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship is defined in Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 as controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship which causes someone to fear that violence will be used against them on at least two occasions; or causes them serious alarm or distress which has a substantial adverse effect on their usual day-to-day activities.¹
There is very limited research about the impact of coercive controlling behaviour on children and young people, however, in recent research Dr. Emma Katz outlined her key findings about the impact of coercive controlling behaviour:
Anyone affected by these forms of violence and abuse should be able to access help and support when they need it and every case should be taken seriously. The Live Fear Free Helpline is a 24 hour helpline for women, children and men experiencing domestic abuse, sexual violence or other forms of violence against women on 0808 80 10 800.
¹Home Office, Controlling or Coercive Behaviour in an Intimate or Family Relationship Statutory Guidance Framework December 2015 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/482528/Controlling_or_coercive_behaviour_-_statutory_guidance.pdf