Domestic abuse is not always physical. Every day, hundreds of people suffer at the hands of controlling, coercive behaviour from partners or others that are close to them.
In December 2015, controlling and coercive behaviour (CCB) in an intimate or family relationship became a criminal offence in the UK under Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act. The offence carries a maximum of five years imprisonment, a fine or both. However, despite this, many people still suffer in silence, unaware that CCB is a punishable offence, or simply uncertain as to how to get help or prove their case.
Here at ICS Law, we are committed to helping victims of CCB. This starts with learning how to recognise controlling and coercive behaviour, and understanding that there is help out there.
What is control and coercion?
Coercive or controlling behaviour does not relate to a single incident. It defines a purposeful pattern of incidents that take place over a period of time, enabling an individual to exert power, control or coercion over their victim.
This sort of behaviour renders an individual dependent by isolating them from support and depriving them of independence. It creates invisible chains that serve to bind the victim to their abuser, resulting in a sense of fear that marks all elements of the individual’s life.
How to recognise it.
It can be incredibly difficult for a victim to come to a place where they are willing and able to recognise that someone in their life is exhibiting CCB towards them and seek the necessary help.
Patterns of controlling and coercive behaviour become so ingrained over time, that an individual comes to believe that they are deserving of this treatment, that it is, to some extent, normal and reflective of their worth. Perpetrators systematically lower the self-worth of the victim through their behaviour towards them, disempowering the person and robbing them of their voice. As such, it is incredibly hard for a victim to feel strong and safe enough to seek help.
The first step is to learn how to recognise CCB. Relevant behaviour of a perpetrator can include:
- Isolating the victim from their friends or family
- Repeatedly attempting to put them down i.e. telling them that they are worthless
- Controlling the person’s finances
- Putting limits on their personal freedoms, such as preventing them from working, receiving education or accessing transport
- Seeking to purposefully damage an individual’s reputation in social and familial circles
- Monitoring and managing their time
- Threatening to hurt or harm them
- Enforcing rules and activities which humiliate, degrade or dehumanise them
Don’t suffer in silence.
If you feel you identify with any of the above, it is essential that you begin to seek help.
Here at ICS Law, it is our job to support and empower you, helping you to disentangle yourself from the controlling and coercive behaviour that is ruling your life. We have the experience and knowledge necessary to offer you the confidential support that you need.
If you are in an abusive relationship, we can help. For confidential help and advice contact ICS Law today.