Coercive Control: What does it mean for you?

By: Sara McHaffie

You may have noticed the headlines at the beginning of April as a new law came into force: the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018. This brings our legislation into line with the knowledge we have about the dynamics of domestic abuse, and will allow police and the courts to send a much stronger message about the types of abuse that are unacceptable. At Amina MWRC, we’ve been working for many years to challenge this abuse.

You can see some scholars discuss this in our film ‘Imams for Change’

Coercive control is a term for the system an abuser creates where they make somebody scared of them, isolate them, and control what they do, wear, where they go and so on. It can happen very slowly, but in other ways, it’s a bit like being in a hostage situation. You’re frequently humiliated. You struggle to contact the outside world. Somebody else determines things like when you eat, what you eat, when you exercise, when you sleep.

You can find films and posters by Women’s Aid Scotland here.

Domestic abuse isn’t only about single acts of violence.

Domestic Abuse is about this pattern of behaviour that functions to restrict a person’s freedom. It can be psychological or spiritual or financial. And this is now clearly against the law in Scotland.

Since the law came into force in April of this year, at the time of publication of this article (July, 2019) over 100 people have been charged. It will be a while until the first conviction, but this shows that the training Police Scotland embarked on before April has resulted in police officers understanding the law and investigating crimes.

This is a film with the stories of women who experienced coercive control and took
the step of asking for support to leave.

If you, or somebody you know has experienced this, please call our Helpline on 0808 801 0301
If you are in immediate danger, call the Police at 999
If you require specialist support, call the Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline at 0800 0271234

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