Understanding coercive control, and how we can help you navigate it

07 MAR 2022

 

As a family law solicitor, we see it all - the good, the bad, and the ugly.  

Our clients are going through one (if not the most) difficult time of their lives.  Navigating housing, shared care, and the separation of the asset pool often causes immense financial and emotional stress.  

The last two years have been a pressure cooker for the strongest of couples, and for those experiencing and navigating family violence, it has been isolating and debilitating.  

Research shows that during the 2021 lockdowns, more than two-thirds of Domestic Family Violence agencies reported an increase in new clients, with 67% of new clients seeking help for the first time.  

As noted by Professor Carrington, “COVID gave perpetrators who are already attracted to coercive controlling behaviours another weapon”.  

Coercive control can be difficult to identify and typically refers to a pattern of behaviours used by an abuser to control their partner.  Coercive control generally involves manipulation and intimidation to keep a person scared, isolated, and dependent on their abuser. 

The 2021 lockdowns made it significantly more difficult for individuals to escape toxic relationships and environments, and made it much easier for abusers to watch, monitor, and control their partners.

Coercive control comes in many forms and keeps you in a hostage-like situation.  Examples of coercive control include: 

  1. Isolating you from your support system; 
  2. Monitoring your activity throughout the day;
  3. Denying you freedom and activity, such as taking your phone and changing your passwords;
  4. Name-calling and putting you down; 
  5. Limiting your access to money;
  6. Turning the kids against you; 
  7. Making jealous accusations; and, 
  8. Threatening your children or pets. 

If you have experienced domestic violence then you will have an opportunity to disclose this when commencing family law proceedings.  Discussing your experiences may feel daunting and overwhelming.  You may also fear being judged or feeling embarrassed.  

Given that many of our clients have experienced some form of domestic violence, our solicitors are well equipped to navigate this sensitive topic.  At Marsden's Law Group we take the time to listen, are non-judgmental, and are always available for a chat when things feel overwhelming.   While we are not counsellors, we are empaths.  

Often times we refer our clients to support programs and mental health practitioners who are able to assist them in navigating this difficult time.  We take a holistic approach towards our client care because we care.   

For more information on coercive control visit: https://www.healthline.com/health/coercive-control#restricting-autonomy

The following hotlines are available to anyone experiencing domestic violence:  

  • 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732)
  • Mensline Australia (1300 789 978)
  • Lifeline (13 11 14)

The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.

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