Breaking Down the Myths: Coercive Control and Its Disproportionate Impact on Women
Coercive control refers to a pattern of behaviour used by an individual to maintain power and control over another person in an intimate or family relationship. This can involve a wide range of tactics, such as isolation from friends and family, monitoring of activities, control of finances, intimidation, threats, and physical or sexual violence.
Coercive control is important to know about, because it can have serious and long-lasting impacts on victims’ physical and mental health, relationships, and overall well-being. It can also escalate to physical violence, and in extreme cases, it can lead to murder or suicide.
Research has also shown that women are more likely to be victims of coercive control than men, and that the majority of perpetrators are men. This makes it a gendered issue – one I frequently hear men argue against, with anecdotes of those “bad” women they have known, but with little desire to investigate and look into the statistics that demonstrate the specific harms that women predominantly face at the hands of men.
The gendered nature of coercive control and domestic violence needs to be acknowledged and appropriately understood as a first step in developing effective prevention and intervention strategies.
Recognising coercive control as a form of abuse and understanding its dynamics is then crucial to the provision of effective support and intervention for those experiencing it.
It is also important for law enforcement, legal professionals, and policymakers to recognise coercive control as a criminal offence and to develop appropriate legal and policy responses.
This includes providing support and resources for victims, holding perpetrators accountable for their actions, and challenging societal norms and attitudes that perpetuate gender inequality and violence against women.
Criminalising Coercive Control
Countries where coercive control has now been recognised as a crime, include:
- England and Wales: In 2015, the Serious Crime Act was amended to include a new offence of “controlling or coercive behavior” in intimate or familial relationships…