Criminal Law

Know About Coercive Control and What You Can Do About It

Domestic violence isn’t just physical. People can be subjected to assault, threats, humiliation, and intimidation to order to punish or frighten them – this is known as coercive control.

With the passage of the Serious Crime Act in December 2015, coercive control became illegal in England and Wales. The act made “controlling or coercive behaviour” in intimate or familial relationships a crime, closing a long-criticised legal gap.

Those found guilty of the crime face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and/or a fine.

What Exactly Is Coercive Control?

Coercive control is a type of domestic abuse, or rather a combination of several types of abuse intended to manipulate and push the victim into particular behaviours. Abusers frequently utilise physical violence and the fear of physical violence to keep their victims obedient.

Controlling behaviour, which is also a legal offence, refers to a set of actions intended to make someone subordinate or dependent.

The government warns that trying to control or coerce behaviour is primarily a form of violence against women and girls and that it is rooted in societal gender inequality.

Why Complaints Of Forceful Controlling Behavior Are Not As Common?

The following are some of the most common reasons for people failing to report coercive controlling behaviour:

  • Concerned about how they would be protected  from their partner.
  • They are concerned about how their partner’s conviction will affect their family’s lifestyle and reputation.
  • They do not wish to be separated from their loved ones.
  • They do not wish to impose their issues on others.

Data obtained by the BBC from 33 police forces in England and Wales between January 2016 and July 2018 revealed that, while there were 7,034 arrests, only 1,157 cases resulted in charges being filed. Police or prosecutors dropped nearly 5,000 cases.

What Kinds Of Behaviour Constitute Coercive Control?

  1. Isolating a person from their friends or family.
  2. Depriving them of basic needs, medical support, or other support programmes.
  3. Monitoring their time.
  4. Monitoring a person via online communication tools, and taking over aspects of their daily life – such as where they can go, who they can see, what to wear, and when they can sleep – are all examples of coercive control.
  5. It also includes repeatedly humiliating or degrading the victim, such as telling them they are worthless, enforcing rules.
  6. Activities that humiliate or degrade the victim, or force the victim to participate in criminal activity, such as shoplifting or child abuse, encourage self-blame.
  7. Threatening your children or pets.
  8. Threats to harm or kill, threats to a child, and blackmail are all possibilities.
  9. Preventing a person from using public transportation or working.
  10. Disclosure of any medical condition without consent.
  11. Economic control and financial abuse, which is the control of someone’s finances, can overlap with coercive control.

What is Gaslighting? 

Gaslighting is a dangerously subtle form of one-to-one control that is often much more difficult to detect because it wears the charming face of your friend, lover, colleague, or relation – and it will tell you that it only wants the best for you.

Gaslighting is the practice of convincing someone that they are incorrect about something when they are not. This includes frequently disagreeing with others and refusing to listen to their viewpoint.

What to Do If Are Under Coercive Control

If you believe you are in a relationship where you are subjected to coercive control, it is time to consider your options.

Talking to your partner about making a few changes to bring more balance into your relationship can help some people, especially if they were unaware they were toxic.

However, in some relationships, this approach will not work, and if you want to leave the relationship, seek the advice of a friend, family member, or a professional.

How Can Royce Legal Help In Cases Of Coercive Control?

We will communicate with the police sensitively during the investigation stage of the case. When an allegation is denied, we will make certain that our client’s case is meticulously presented. If the case goes to court, we will make certain that no stone is left unturned in our client’s defence. Domestic cases frequently involve limited supporting evidence and result in the complainant’s account versus the defendant’s account.

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