In 2015, controlling and coercive behaviour became a new offence under section 76 of the Serious Crime Act.
Following this, organisations have been urged to look at domestic abuse differently, and consider how they could better respond to lower level forms of abuse. This includes recognising the cumulative effects of experiencing ongoing coercive and controlling behaviours, as opposed to focusing only on incidents and their severity.
Coercive control is hard to spot and easy to hide from others - it can also be a warning sign of future violence. Routine low level, on-going abuse is often overlooked and minimised, but it can have long-lasting psychological effects. Some survivors have stated that the violence isn't the worst part.
Coercive control may not involve physical violence. Other tactics may include continuous scrutiny and micro monitoring, plus social isolation, degradation, intimidation and mind games. Like hostages, victims may be denied access to money or food