Controlling behaviour in relationships
Abuse isn’t always physical
Domestic abuse and toxic relationships don’t always involve physical violence. It can be sexual, financial and emotional abuse and can happen to anyone. Sustained controlling behaviour such as regularly intimidating, bullying, criticising or threatening someone in a personal relationship, are all forms of what is called ‘coercive control’. This is a form of domestic abuse and is a criminal offence.
What is coercive control?
Typically, one person in a personal relationship, whether it be a partner, spouse or family member, will control the other over a period of time and in ways that go largely unnoticed by friends and family. As well as the bullying and criticism, common traits of coercive control can include checking the other’s phone, making them dress in or look a certain way, wanting to know where they are and who they are seeing, restricting their money or cutting them off from friends and family.
This short film shows the devastating consequences of coercive and controlling behaviour.
Who can it happen to and what support is available?
Domestic abuse can happen to anyone. Young people developing their first romantic relationship might not know what a healthy relationship is so, it’s important to help young people spot the signs when a relationship is unhealthy.
A range of help and support is available, including general advice and confidential listening. So, if you think you may be in a controlling relationship or know someone who is, we are here to help when you are ready. Visit the Surrey Against Domestic Abuse website, call Surrey’s Domestic Abuse helpline provided by Your Sanctuary on 01483 776822 or use the Your Sanctuary confidential online chat to get advice, signposting and information just as you would over the phone. In an emergency you should always call 999.