Today sees the start of Anti-Bullying Week 2019 but bullying isn’t all about children. Coercive control is a form of bullying and is a crime and can affect anyone at work or at home
Domestic abuse isn’t always a physical attack. Coercive control is behaviour that includes ongoing acts of physical assault, threats and/or threatening actions, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.
This controlling behaviour is intended to make a person dependent on the abuser by isolating them from friends or family support, exploiting them, depriving them of independence and regulating their everyday behaviour.
Coercive control creates an emotional paralysis and a sense of fear that infiltrates all aspects of a victim’s life. At the most basic it can make a victim doubt themselves and at the very worst coercive control can be compared to being taken hostage advises expert Evan Stark. As he says: “the victim becomes captive in an unreal world created by the abuser, entrapped in a world of confusion, contradiction and fear.”
How do you know if this is happening to you?
Some common examples of coercive behaviour are:
Intimidation – Making you afraid by using looks, actions, gestures, smashing things or destroying property, abusing pets or displaying weapons.
Emotional Abuse – Putting you down and making you feel bad about yourself, calling you names, humiliation, playing mind games.
Isolation – Controlling what you do, where you go, who you see and talk to. Using jealousy to justify behaviour. Limiting or preventing contact with family or friends. Taking away internet access or telephone.
Economic Abuse – Preventing you from having a job, controlling access to money or only giving an allowance, taking money away.
Using Threats – Making or carrying out threats to hurt you, threatening to leave her or commit suicide, threatening to report you to social services, making you carry out illegal actions or forcing you to drop charges.
Using Children – Using child arrangement visits to harass you, relay abusive messages, threatening to take the children away.
Minimising – Making light of any abuse, denying any abuse took place, shifting responsibility and convincing a victim it is their fault.
Who Is Affected?
Please remember coercive control and bullying can affect both men and women and can occur in both opposite-gender and same-gender relationships.
In April 2018 the first woman to be accused and charged with domestic abuse against her male partner made headlines. Read the story here.
About 25% of LGBT people suffer through violent or threatening relationships with partners or ex-partners.
The list above is not exhaustive. If you are worried for yourself, family member or friend or if you have any queries regarding the above information remember obtaining accurate legal information from the outset can be vital in the resolution of your matter and can make the process less stressful. Call 01246 555610 to arrange a free, no obligation consultation with one of our experienced solicitors.
Sources: www.womensaid.org.uk, Duluth model, www.endthefear.co.uk, www.mensadviceline.org.uk