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Coercive Control – what is it and what can you do about it?

Thank you to Andrew Isaacs Law Ltd – Divorce and Family Specialists for their latest article for The Group Hug community

What is coercive control?

Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse that sadly and often catastrophically many people find themselves subjected to.  Domestic abuse does not always have to be physical, this kind of abuse can often be verbal by way of humiliation, threats and degrading words.

If you tend to find yourself walking on eggshells around your spouse or it feels like you are walking on glass, resenting them but too scared to leave them as you feel worthless, degraded and lacking confidence, it may be that you are living with an abuser.

Read more about relationship breakdowns and how to move on

How does it all start?

Domestic abusers may initially entice their victim by charming them, love bombing and showering them with gifts until they have them in their control. They then may seek to isolate them from friends and family, gaslight them and control them emotionally and financially. The victim then is too fearful of the abuser to break the rules or speak out.

Women’s Aid describe the abuse on their website as creating invisible chains and a sense of fear that pervades all elements of a victim’s life. It works to limit their human rights by depriving them of their liberty and reducing their ability for action.

Coercive control can start with lovebombing

Coercive control is now a criminal offence

Due to the campaigning of charities and support groups such as Women’s Aid, coercive control is now a criminal offence. Domestic abuse is defined by the Crown Prosecution Service as;

Any incident or patterns of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse: psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional.

Crown Prosecution Service

Click here for Domestic abuse guidelines for prosecutors

Coercive control awareness

You may have recently seen the Coronation Street storyline involving Geoff Metcalfe and his onscreen wife Yasmeen Metcalfe who very vividly played out a story of domestic abuse and coercive control.  Soap operas can often feel farfetched, however this storyline was extremely realistic and a very sobering portrayal of a husband controlling and abusing his wife by gradually wearing and breaking her down via manipulation, abuse, emotional control and financial control. The storyline was played out during lockdown.

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Domestic abuse charities and helplines saw a huge increase in calls being made to helplines during lockdown. Refuge Charity reported an increase to the National Domestic Abuse helpline by 25 percent.

Is this happening to you?

Here at Andrew Isaacs Law we understand how terrifying and paralyzing this type of abuse can feel to victims which is multiplied by the lockdown restrictions the country has been facing throughout 2020 and into 2021. We understand victims feel that there is nothing for them outside the relationship and that they feel worthless and useless.

Find out more about domestic abuse and divorce

Help is available from several charities and the Police and it is important to speak confidentially with some of the charities available. Often victims are unable to speak out or reach for help as by the very nature of the abuse they have suffered they lack the confidence or belief. The abuser often breaks the victim down into believing they are not capable of surviving without them and that the abuse they have suffered is their own fault and that nobody would believe them if they did seek help.

If this resonates with you or you know somebody that is at risk from domestic abuse, then go to www.womensaid.org.uk. You can email [email protected] and receive emotional support from the National Domestic Violence Helpline by calling 0808 2000 247.

Get expert advice and guidance

Andrew Isaacs Law can help you legally end your marriage or advise you regarding your separation. We offer a fixed fee appointment which is of course confidential and you will be given the best advice tailored to your needs from experienced professional lawyers.

The particular nature of this abuse means that before a victim can take steps to leave an abusive relationship and recover mentally and emotionally, the victim first needs to be able to identify themselves as a victim which is particularly difficult.

How to tell if someone may be suffering with mental health issues

Nobody has to stay in an abusive relationship for any reason. Sadly, victims fear the disruption will harm their children, their career, their financial situation and future. Nothing should compromise anybody’s physical and mental wellbeing, but it is sometimes very difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It may be that one of our team at Andrew Isaacs Law can show you that light.

Anyone can suffer from domestic abuse

This abuse is firmly recollected by one of our solicitors here at Andrew Isaacs Law having been witness to such abuse for several years. It was after the airing of the storyline on Coronation Street and how every insult and erosion of the onscreen victim’s confidence and self-esteem seemed to recall events of the past. This encouraged our solicitor to wish to encourage victims to seek help and show how Andrew Isaacs Law really do understand what you may be going through and how our skills and expertise can help you break away from such a relationship.

If I get divorced, what will happen to my children?

It is common ground that divorce is not an easy thing to go through without the added complications of an abusive spouse.  However, with the help of charities and the dedication of our team, our lawyers will do their utmost to help you through your divorce and seek help for you to recover mentally and emotionally from the abuse being suffered, whilst allowing you to move forward with your life, be free of abuse and regain some confidence and self-esteem.

With the right help and advice, the law can assist you to move on

The law can offer certain protection such as non-molestation orders and occupation orders. Therefore, you may be able to seek an order that during proceedings your abusing spouse is ordered to leave the family home and be prohibited from coming within a certain distance of the property and unable to contact or communicate with you.

Andrew Isaacs Law do not want anybody to be suffering at the hands of an abuser, most definitely not during the lockdown that the UK is undergoing.  We want to offer tailored advice to these individuals to help them exit these relationships/marriages leaving them in the best possible financial situation to pave a brighter and safer future. For a no obligation £60 fixed fee appointment please call contact them – FIND THEIR DETAILS IN THE HUG DIRECTORY and get support through your divorce or separation.

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