Controlling or coercive behaviour

Behaviour and actions of a perpetrator that are intended to control the victim through isolation, intimidation, degradation and micro-regulation of everyday life. The term and concept were developed by Evan Stark to explain the range of tactics used by perpetrators and their effects on victims.

The concept highlights the continuing nature of the behaviour, and the extent to which the actions of the perpetrator control the victim.  The concept makes it clear that such abuse can be psychological as well as physical, which is explicitly covered within the definition of domestic abuse. The offence of controlling or coercive behaviour within an intimate or familial relationship is set out in section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015, and carries a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, a fine, or both, for offenders.

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