Coercive control is on the rise in England and Wales. There were 44,626 offences of coercive control recorded by the police in the year ending March 2022. This is compared with 33,954 in the year ending March 2021 and 24,856 in the year ending March 2020. B P Collins’ family team advises on what victims can do to protect themselves and their children.
Domestic abuse isn’t always physical violence. It can also encompass a pattern of controlling, threatening and coercive behaviour. This behaviour can be emotional, economic, psychological or sexual. Preparators of domestic abuse often use coercive and controlling behaviour to seek to isolate their victims from friends and family and to remove any support network they have.
If you’re experiencing domestic abuse, there are various orders which can be made to help you. For example, it is possible for the court to make an order regulating the use of the family home, such as who can use the kitchen at a particular time.
The court also has the power to exclude the perpetrator of domestic abuse from the family home entirely (an occupation order) and to grant an injunction to prevent abusive behaviour (a non-molestation order). Breach of a non-molestation order is a criminal offence and as such will act as a deterrent for some.
The impact of economic abuse has been noted by the family court. There have been recent cases where economic abuse was recognised as a form of “conduct”, which is one of the key factors taken into account by the court when considering the appropriate financial settlement.
Refuges and the police will provide support to all those who are being abused – whether physically, emotionally, or otherwise.
If you’re experiencing abuse, you can also call the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free on 0808 2000 247 and anyone in danger should call 999.