Coercive Control: One Year On

Coercive Control: One Year On

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:

“A year ago today, the coercive control law came into force. This marked a big step forward for understanding, preventing, and tackling domestic abuse, and Women’s Aid was instrumental in campaigning for and helping design this criminal offence. Coercive control – the systematic destruction of a survivor’s self-esteem and autonomy – is the heart of domestic abuse.

“There have been high-profile convictions for this crime. We know from these coercive control cases that threats, intimidation and surveillance can enable perpetrators to exert almost complete control over a survivors’ life. A year on from the law coming into effect, the public understanding of coercive control has improved, thanks to the brilliant work of The Archers. We are proud to have been part of this.

“But the number of convictions is worryingly low – especially as we know that the vast majority of women experiencing domestic abuse are survivors of coercive control. If we can increase the convictions for coercive control, and recognise patterns of perpetrator behaviour – such as those revealed by the Femicide Census – it will have an enormous impact on the reduction of domestic abuse. We also need to see the coercive control offence being used when there has been no physical violence. Then we will know the law is really working to protect victims of a crime whose effects are just as devastating as those of physical abuse.

“Women’s Aid will keep working in 2017 to ensure that there is greater understanding of coercive control from all agencies that work with survivors of domestic abuse – especially those working within the family courts, where ignorance of coercive control is having devastating effects. There is a long way to go – but progress is being made, and we will ensure it continues in 2017.”

For training on coercive control for your organisation in 2017, please contact the Women’s Aid National Training Centre

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