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Coercive and Controlling Behaviour

Controlling and Coercive behaviour is an offence that was put into force in December 2015. It is a serious offence which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine.

The offence is to help victims who experience controlling and coercive behaviour. That is behaviour which stops short physical violence or harm but is behaviour which causes serious psychological and emotional harm.

What is controlling behaviour?

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

What is coercive behaviour?

Coercive behaviour is a continuing act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that causes harm, punish, or frighten the victim.

A few examples of coercive behaviour would be:

  • Threat of rape
  • Not able to control your own finances
  • Being isolated from family and friends
  • Preventing medical attention
  • Threatening to harm a child or prevent the victim from seeing the child should they try to leave
  • Using a child as a weapon

What is the offence?

It is a behaviour which is repeated or is continuous. The behaviour must have a serious impact on the victim. For example, the victim must be fearful that violence will be used against them (on at least 2 occasions) or have a serious impact on the victims day to day activities.
The victim and perpetrator must be connected, personally, at the time of the offence.

If you suspect someone is being controlled and coerced, contact our safeguarding officer, David if it is urgent – 07467952373.

If it is not urgent but should be brought to our attention, please call 01702 782001 or email