Following on from the three key issues (Perceptions, Uncertainty with evidence, and lack of understanding of coercive and controlling behaviour) that I spoke about in my first blog, I will discuss the reasons why convictions for this crime of abuse have been so low in comparison to the number of these crimes being reported to the police. I would now like to look at another key and again leave some thought-provoking questions for us all to think about.
Key issue effecting convictions.
Discrepancies about who is the aggressor It is important to first understand that, within coercive control, the person being subjected to this type of abuse could act in what I prefer to call uncharacteristic ways. By this, I mean their behaviour can at times appear or be perceived as ‘unreasonable, ‘aggressive, or high conflict, depending on where you are in the world.
This presents much difficulty for the person being subjected to coercive control, especially when the police are called to the scene if the person being coercively controlled uses physical violence towards the coercive controller. It is important to note here that this is a common pattern of behaviour for coercive controllers: to push the victim to their limits, stand back, and watch the behaviour escalate to physical violence. This is usually the sole aim of the coercive controller. It is part of the narrative they want others to believe about the victim, and unfortunately, the victim's behaviours match this narrative well, with great accuracy, within this violent episode.
Many women have reported being arrested for one act of physical violence, and while I am not condoning violence, coercive control has the ability to push and control people into states of behaviour (through survival mode) that are unthinkable. Only those who have been subjected to coercive control or who are Experts in this field can truly understand its insidious nature and what behaviours it can evoke in victims.
Based on this, I understand how this can also prove difficult on first arrest by the police to discern the nature of coercive control and the power imbalance that is not obvious on first encounters.
However, we know this can happen. The question is, what are we doing to ensure that coercive control is assessed at this stage, and more importantly, what can we do at this stage to protect those being subjected to coercive control? Until next time, I will leave you with my message.
‘Make choices and decisions that will create peace in your heart’. Much love, Lis