Criminalisation of coercive control reaches seven-year anniversary

As the criminalisation of coercive control reaches its seven-year anniversary, we are proud to have campaigned — alongside other organisations — for this landmark legislation that will bring more perpetrators to justice. We’ve also seen progress as part of the Domestic Abuse Act which now recognises that the end of a relationship does not equate with the end of abuse. But there is still lots to do.

Coercive control is at the heart of almost all domestic abuse, yet only a small minority of survivors who experience it see justice. In England and Wales, between April 2020 and March 2021, there were 33,954 offences of coercive control recorded by the police, but only 1,403 defendants were prosecuted for this offence (ONS, 2021). It appears statutory agencies still do not understand coercive control and what it looks like and, therefore,  must receive training on how to identify when it’s happening.

Coercive control is part of wider male violence against women, and there needs to be an improved understanding of the traits, techniques, and, indeed gravity, of this form of abuse.

Survivors need, and deserve, a consistent response to their experiences of abuse. The government must invest long-term specialist domestic abuse services, and in multi-agency and partnership working across all sectors to build a safe and just world for women and girls.

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