What is coercive control? Domestic Violence encompasses a wide range of behaviour. Coercive control is just one form, but what is coercive control?
Coercive control is a pattern of psychologically manipulative behaviour that perpetrators use to gain control and power over their intimate partner. Acts of coercive control includes but is not limited to:
- Monitoring or tracking a person’s whereabouts, with or without their knowledge;
- Controlling a person’s finances;
- Restricting access to money;
- Insulting a person continually to undermine their self-esteem;
- Purposefully isolating a person from their family or friends;
- Controlling what a person wears or says; and
- Monitoring a person’s communication with others, with or without their knowledge.
Coercive control can often start with subtle acts such as the perpetrator asking the victim where they have been when returning home. Whilst this may seem to be normal behaviour if the question turns into an interrogation, this could be a sign of coercive control. This type of behaviour can lead to the perpetrator preventing the victim from socialising with friends/family or attending certain events/locations.
Victims of domestic violence may apply for a protection order on their own behalf. Alternatively the police may file on behalf of a victim especially if they have been called to a domestic dispute.
Various conditions of an order can be included to prohibit the controlling behaviour and then if those conditions are not complied with the police can charge the perpetrator with a breach of the domestic violence order.
Currently, coercive control is not identified as a criminal behaviour in itself, however the Queensland Government has announced plans to set up an independent task force to consult on potential coercive control legislation. This proposed legislation seeks to criminalise coercive control. Other jurisdictions such as the UK have already criminalised coercive control.
If you are experiencing domestic violence you should contact the police on 000 or police link on 131 444, alternatively please contact the DBL Family Law Team for advice.