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August 09, 2022

Defining coercive control

Coercive control is the unseen side of domestic violence and abuse. The purpose of this article to share information about coercive control (inlcuding some of the warning signs), and how TFSS can help.   

Coercive control is a pattern of abuse that degrades, humiliates and isolates victims, and takes away their freedom and autonomy to make their own decisions. This covers mental, emotional, spiritual and financial abuse.

Examples of coercive control involve:

  • Isolating their partner from their family and friends
  • Humiliating them and putting them down
  • Controlling and tracking their movements
  • Taking away their ability to make decisions about things like what they wear and how they spend their money.

By taking away someone’s autonomy, it can make an individual feel trapped and take away their ability to leave what others may clearly see as an unhealthy connection.

The stages of coercive control

  1. Establishing trust: This is often referred to as ‘love bombing’
  2. Isolation: The perpetrator isolates the victim from their support network.
  3. Blaming other faults for abusive behaviour
  4. ‘Gaslighting’
  5. Enforce trivial demands (eg: Controlling who you can speak too)
  6. Relentless monitoring
  7. Alternating punishments with rewards
  8. Threats
  9. Degradation

How TFSS can help:

While Coercive control is often experienced behind closed door, anyone who has serious concerns about a friend or family members relationship can call:

  • Women: 1800 073 388
  • Men and women: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Our programs:

For women escaping domestic violence, it can be one of the most challenging moments of their life. At TFSS, our highly qualified and skilled staff are here to support, advocate for and provide advice during this challenging time.

Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (WDVCAS)

Our team help support women before, during, and after domestic abuse matters, including advocating and supporting ADVO matters at court.

Staying Home Leaving Violence Program

Working closely with the WDVCAS team, Staying Home Leaving Violence supports women and their children to stay in their home or a home of their own choosing.

It is also important to note that both programs will help support and make appropriate referrals to other programs, whether it be within TFSS or other specialist services.

Reference List

NSW Government - Joint Committee on Coercive Control: