Domestic Abuse

Coercive Control

In many relationships there are occasions where one person will make a decision on behalf of their partner, or where one person will take control of a certain situation. Within a supportive and healthy relationship this is not an issue. It is unhealthy when control of a persons day-to-day life is stripped away by their partner, when there are 'rules' that someone must live by to avoid angering their partner. 

This is Coercive and Controlling Behaviour. 

What is it?


Domestic abuse is not a one off incident.


Coercive control is the pattern that domestic

abuse takes. It means it can happen again,

and again, and again. That includes both the

physical and the emotional abuse.


So your partner might constantly:

  • Phone and text you

  • Ask where you are

  • Want to know who you are with

  • Comment on what you wear

  • Criticise you / put you down

If someone is trying to make you feel

unsure about yourself, they are trying to

control you.

Remember, you know you best.



Video courtesy of Dorset Police - #CutYourStrings

How might it make someone feel??

We all know that it is important to look after and look out for our mental health. Coercive and controlling behaviour may have a huge impact on how you feel, your emotions as well as your physical health. 


You may feel:

  • anxious, nervous and not free to make your own decisions;

  • like you are "walking on eggshells"

  • scared that you don't have access to money

  • worried that you lack other close relationships other than with your partner 

  • sick, experience headaches or have other ongoing physical health symptoms

  • isolated from friends and family and feel like you have nobody you can talk to 

Coercive Control is against the law 

The most serious perpetrators of coercive control can be sentenced for up to 5 year is prison. In other cases it is more likely that there will be a shorter prison sentence or fine. 

The perpetrator can only be prosecuted if there is evidence that it has happened on at least 2 occasions.

Types of evidence include:

  • text messages and screenshots of messages on social media 

  • copies of letters or emails

  • details of previous threats

  • phone records

  • 999 tapes

  • records of interaction with services such as support services 

  • medical records

  • CCTV/body-worn footage from where police enter a domestic abuse situation 

  • witness testimony from family, friends or neighbours

  • bank records

  • evidence of isolation such as lack of contact with family, friends, or other agencies they the victim was previously in contact with

This information is up to date as of 28th March 2019 and will not be updated soon