16 Days of Activism 2020 – Day 15

Coercive control

For Day 15 of #16DaysofActivism2020 we are highlighting the dangerous domestic abuse typology of coercive control. We picked this topic today because it is Question 15 on the DASH Risk Assessment and a pivotal question when looking at risk.

Coercive Control became a crime in December 2015 and yet it’s still proving hard to secure standalone convictions for the offence. We often see a #coercivecontrol charge placed against the offender when there has been a physical assault, so it’s then tagged onto the charges. However, as a standalone crime there is still much to be done to help secure the evidence to reach the CPS threshold. It could be that a more proactive police response is required.

With all the domestic homicides that have occurred – you will most likely see #coercive control within the relationship prior to the murder. It’s one of the most concerning risk factors.

I think it’s Evan Stark who said that (I’m paraphrasing now) domestic violence, coercive control and then stalking are the biggest precursors to domestic homicides. If you don’t understand what coercive control is look at the Women’s Aid website link here:

If you are lucky enough to hear Evan Stark speak about coercive control – he is one of the forerunners to write books on coercive control and to create a shape to this crime.

Coercive control takes account of the psychological abuse that’s often missed when looking at domestic abuse. Domestic violence would rarely take place without coercive control being a huge factor.

A simple way to coin coercive control is “intimate terrorism”. It also links with Article 3 of Human Rights which protects you from:

  • torture (mental or physical)
  • inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.

If you are in Essex and believe that you are being subjected to coercive control, which could be any of the following types of abuse from a family member or your partner:

  • Psychological abuse – degrading, dehumanising treatment, putting you down constantly, calling you abusive names
  • Economical abuse – controlling the finances
  • Isolating you from friends/family
  • Preventing you from accessing medical support
  • Telling you what to wear or who you can see and who you can’t
  • Making threats and intimidating you – sometimes it may be threats of suicide…

Effectively coercive control is a way for someone to say they own you, they own the rights to you – so you will follow my rules and abide by them. It has its roots in #patriarchy.

Please call us on 01268 729707 for South and West Essex – Harlow, Epping, Brentwood, Thurrock, Basildon, Castle Point & Rochford. For other parts of Essex please call our partner agencies via the number: 0330 333 7444. Our partner agencies are Next Chapter and SOSDAP/Safe Steps in Southend

If you need support and are not in Essex you can contact:

Please do not suffer in silence we can support you.
#VAWG #EVAWG #16DaysofActivism

Alison Bird
Best Practice and Training Lead at Changing Pathways

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