Coercion and control 

COERCIONthe use of force to persuade someone to do something that they are unwilling to do 

FORCE: to make something happen or make someone do something difficult, unpleasant or unusual, especially by threatening or not offering the possibility of choice.

CONTROL: the power to influence or direct people's behaviour or the course of events.



Domestic abuse isn’t always physical, in fact some of the most alarming abuse is done without even touching the victim.   

Sometimes, victims might not even realise that they are in a coercive and controlling relationship.  This type of relationship can become serious very quickly, with things moving fast often with the couple moving in together.  Its not uncommon for them to have a child shortly afterwards.  If there is a child involved, it can make it harder for the victim to leave the relationship.   

Typically, the coercive and controlling behaviours are quite subtle initially so that the victim doesn’t even realise that they are being manipulated. 

This escalates and it can wear the victim down making them feel subordinate and sometimes dependent on the perpetrator.  It might only be once something significant occurs that the victim realises that they are trapped and that they have little or no say in any aspect of their lives. 

Some examples of coercive behaviour include: 

  • Isolation from family and friends 
  • Controlling of finances or spending partners money 
  • Humiliating or degrading the victim 
  • Putting the victim down and telling them that they are worthless 
  • Monitoring the victimtime 
  • Monitoring methods of communication such as mobile phone or internet  
  • Depriving the victim of basic needs such as clothing or food 
  • Depriving the victim of medical services 
  • Making threats and intimidation 
  • Making threats against children and/or pets 
  • Making threats to reveal or publish private/personal information 
  • Forcing the victim to take part in criminal activity such as shoplifting or fraud 

Whilst legislation from the government is gender neutral, statistics show that women and girls are disproportionately affected by crimes of domestic violence and abuse. 

If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, please call 999 

If you think that this might be happening to you or someone you know, please call the Derbyshire Domestic Abuse Helpline on: 08000 198 668 or email: [email protected]