Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse that refers to a pattern of behaviour that is used by one person to control, manipulate, or dominate another person within an intimate or family relationship. This behaviour goes beyond physical abuse and can include psychological, emotional, and financial abuse.

Legal guidance for abuse victims

Our family law team has extensive experience in this area and can provide legal guidance and support, including:

  • Obtaining protective orders: We can assist in obtaining non-molestation orders, occupation orders and child arrangements orders from the court. These orders can provide legal protection against an abusive partner and may include provisions to prevent contact, harassment, or further abuse. 
  • Gathering evidence: Coercive control cases often require evidence to support the victim's claims. We can help you gather and document evidence of the abusive behaviour, which may include text messages, emails, social media, witness statements, or medical records.
  • Assessment of the difficulties to formulate a rounded plan, after full discussion and consideration of the options. Proper thought needs to be given to the right approach for the individual case to avoid mis-steps in the legal process. Expert advice from us early can avoid the pitfalls of some approaches. Where a less successful route has already been taken we can look at how the matter moves to a more constructive outcome.
  • Court representation: If the matter needs to go to court, we work as a team with you to represent your interests, present evidence, and prepare legal arguments on your behalf. This can be especially important when seeking protective orders.
  • Support and referrals: We have connections with support organisations and can provide referrals to these services to address the emotional and psychological impact of coercive control.
  • Children: If children are involved, we help you advocate for the best interests of your children, ensuring that arrangements prioritise their safety and well-being. We also work with child-focused non-lawyer professionals where assistance is needed for children regarding the impact of the difficulties experienced.

If you or someone you know is experiencing coercive control, speak to our family law team in confidence on 01473 232121.

‘The whole family team is amazing and care about their clients very much.’ 

- Legal 500 [UK 2024]

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Signs of coercive control 

You may be unsure if you are experiencing coercive control; examples of coercive control include: 

  • Pattern of behaviour: Repeated and ongoing pattern of controlling actions and behaviours rather than isolated incidents.
  • Psychological and emotional abuse: This can include threats, intimidation, humiliation, isolation, and degradation, among other tactics.
  • Isolation: Perpetrators often isolate their victims from friends and family, making it difficult for the victim to seek help or support.
  • Monitoring and surveillance: This may involve excessive monitoring of the victim's activities, such as tracking their movements, monitoring their communications, or demanding constant updates on their whereabouts.
  • Financial control: This may include controlling finances, limiting access to money, and using economic dependence as a means of control.
  • Manipulation and gaslighting: Perpetrators often employ manipulation techniques to gaslight a victim, making them doubt their own perceptions, memories, and reality.
  • Threats and coercion: Threats of harm, violence, or negative consequences for non-compliance are common features of coercive control.

It's important to seek legal advice and support if you or someone you know is experiencing coercive control. Our family law team will listen, discuss the case with you in straightforward language, and give you an honest assessment of how we can help. We will work to understand what is important to you and discuss the best approach, looking at all the professionals also likely to be involved in making decisions about you, and your child or children. This allows us to determine with you a robust plan to deliver what is needed.

Contact our expert family law team today on 01473 232121, complete our contact form, or send us an email at familylaw@prettys.co.uk.

Please note we do not offer legal aid but are always happy to talk over your case and fees.

Georgie Hall
Georgina Rayment
Partner, Head of Family, Mediator
Victoria Mayhew
Senior Associate Solicitor, Accredited Mediator
Sarina Bailey