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Coercive control

Coercive control is an act or a pattern of behaviour towards a person that has a serious effect on that person. Controlling or coercive and can include acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.

Coercive control in an intimate or family relationships is now recognised as a criminal offence.

Some common examples of coercive behaviour are:

  • isolating a person from friends and family
  • depriving a person of basic needs, such as food
  • monitoring a persons time
  • monitoring a person via online communication tools or spyware
  • taking control over aspects of a persons everyday life, such as where they can go, who they can see, what they can wear and when they can sleep
  • depriving a person of access to support services, such as medical services
  • repeatedly putting a person down, such as saying they’re worthless
  • humiliating, degrading or dehumanising a person
  • controlling a persons finances
  • making threats or intimidating a person

Surrey Police have produced a useful video called Breaking the Silence which demonstrates the lethal consequences of coercive and controlling behaviour on one family.