• Family Violence

Coercive Control: What is it?

Umbrella Family LawJuly 25, 2023

Coercive Control: What is it?

Most matters that family law lawyers deal with today involve family violence. Sadly, family violence cases involving “coercive control” appear to be a growing area in this sector.
Coercive control is a complex area as it has no single definition. Professor Evan Stark, the world’s leading authority on coercive control, describes the conduct as ‘a pattern of domination that includes tactics to isolate, degrade, exploit and control [victims].’

Consequently, various behavioural patterns and tactics associated with this conduct can differ in each relationship. Further, coercive control does not rely solely on evidence of physical abuse to prove its existence. The behaviour can be subtle and, therefore, challenging to identify.

Dr Emma Katz, who is an internationally renowned expert and researcher in family violence and coercive control, has identified an ‘array’ of harms that may help you to determine whether coercive control has taken place:
• Social isolation and restriction of movement
• Monitoring and surveillance
• Deprivation of basic resources (e.g. food and heating)
• Home imprisonment
• Brutal and unjust forms of punishment
• Imposition of inappropriate rules and expectations of what could be said or done in the home.

It is crucial to remember that victims of coercive control are not limited to a partner in a relationship. Unfortunately, children are also vulnerable to the tactics listed above.

If you are concerned that you and/or your children are experiencing coercive control, the lawyers at Umbrella Family Law can ensure your concerns are adequately addressed. Contact Umbrella Family Law today via phone at (03) 9279 6800 or email at theteam@umbrellafamilylaw.com.au to discuss how we can help you.

For more information on Family Violence click here.

For 24-hour help – please contact 1800 RESPECT or visit their website.

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