COERCIVE AND CONTROLLING BEHAVIOUR

 

“If you’re waiting to see acts of violence, you have already missed 98% of abuse already sustained”

Evan Stark 2020

 

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF

COERCIVE & CONTROLLING BEHAVIOUR?

Coercive Control is a pattern of dominating behaviours that include tactics to isolate, degrade, exploit and control. There are three key things present in any coercive control dynamic;

 

  1. Rigid Rules – set by the perpetrator
  2. Consequences for rules not complied with – for the victim
  3. Fear – experienced by the victim

 

In understanding coercive control, we need to be mindful of the fact that there is a relationship between control and violence. However, in coercive control the inference of violence is sufficient to bring about the heightened risk and levels of fear experienced by the victim. Thereby, coercive control does not have to feature violence, more often it doesn’t, although it can be experienced frequently, now and again, once or never, which is why it is not definitive.

 

Coercive control is not a type of violence, the behaviours enable a level of control, which predicts a range of negative outcomes more associated with physical abuse, sexual assault and post-separation abuse.

 

The Theory of Coercion was created 1957 by Albert Biderman based on his analysis of prisoners of war, he defined the theory as;

 

“a tool designed to demonstrate and explain the coercive methods of stress manipulation used to torture prisoners of war. It has been applied to explain the coercive techniques used by perpetrators of domestic abuse”

Which is why coercive and control is often described as intimate terrorism; the behaviours and their impacts are the same whether in the home or war context.

EXAMPLES OF COERCIVE & CONTROLLING BEHAVIOUR

The Theory of Coercion is a great tool to enable understanding of the behaviours used in a coercive and controlling dynamic. There are always ‘typical’ behaviours, but ultimately coercive control, as tool to abuse, is far more effective if it is pertinent to the victim.

There are eight behaviours present in coercive and controlling behaviours;

“a tool designed to demonstrate and explain the coercive methods of stress manipulation used to torture prisoners of war. It has been applied to explain the coercive techniques used by perpetrators of domestic abuse”

Which is why coercive and control is often described as intimate terrorism; the behaviours and their impacts are the same whether in the home or war context.

Exhaustion & Isolation

Deprives victims of all social support of their ability to resist. Develops an intense concern with self (this could be home environment)

Makes victim dependent

 

Monopolisation of Perception

Fixes attention upon immediate predicament.

Eliminates information not in compliance with demands. Punishes independence and /or resistance.

 

Humiliation and Degradation

Makes resistance more ‘costly’ than

compliance. ‘Animal Level’ concerns.

 

Exhaustion

Weakens mental and physical ability to resist.

 

Threats

Creates anxiety and despair, outlines cost of non-compliance

 

Occasional Indulgences

Positive motivation for compliance, hinders adjustment to deprivation.

 

Demonstrating Omnipotence

Suggests futility of resistance

 

Forcing trivial demands

Develops habit of compliance Enforcement of ‘rules’

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SUPPORTING VICTIMS OF INTIMATE COERCIVE AND CONTROLLING BEHAVIOUR

 

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