This is a phrase we are hearing more and more in the press recently but what does it mean?
Coercive control became an offence under the Serious Crime Act 2015 and it applies to behaviour that occurred after 29th December 2015. Where behaviour stops short of serious physical violence, but amounts to extreme psychological and emotional abuse, the perpetrator can now be prosecuted.
For an offence to be committed such controlling or coercive behaviour has to have taken place within an intimate or family relationship i.e. it cannot take place between strangers, work colleagues or friends.
The offence is committed if someone repeatedly behaves in a way such that the other person fears violence is going to be used against them, or he/she is substantially distressed to an extent that it effects their day to day life.
Aid organisations have provided examples of the types of behaviour that may now be considered to be coercive and controlling. These include:
Coercive and controlling behaviour is a serious matter and already there has been a case where someone has been imprisoned for such behaviour. To prove coercive control evidence could include copy emails, phone records, text messages, CCTV, photographs, medical records, police records as well as the victim’s own diary or oral evidence.
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