Hide This Page

Controlling and Coercive Behaviour

Controlling and coercive behaviour in relationships is a grave concern that can profoundly impact individuals’ mental and emotional well-being. Recognising, understanding, and knowing where to seek help are pivotal in breaking the cycle and fostering healthier relationships.

What is Controlling and Coercive Behaviour?

Controlling and coercive behaviour encompasses a pattern of actions designed to dominate, manipulate, or undermine another person. Often subtle, it extends beyond physical abuse to include emotional, psychological, and financial manipulation.

Coercive Control Statistics

There were 43,774 offences of coercive control recorded by the police in England and Wales (excluding Devon and Cornwall) in the year ending March 2023. This is compared with 41,039 in the year ending March 2022. The rise in coercive control offences over recent years may be attributed to improvements made by the police in recognising incidents of coercive control and using the new law accordingly. More information on the Serious Crime Act 2015 can be found on the Legislation.gov.uk website

Demographics of Coercive Control

Coercive control affects individuals irrespective of economic and educational backgrounds. Both men and women experience coercive control however, women are more likely to be subjected to coercive and controlling behaviour than men.

Legality of Coercive Control in the UK

Coercive or controlling behaviour became a criminal offence in the UK under the Serious Crime Act 2015. The maximum penalty for conviction is 5 years imprisonment or a fine.

Intense medium reveals emotional turmoil, a powerful portrayal of coercive behaviour in "Deposition" directed by Sakhile Shann.

A midum shot captures raw emotion, offering a powerful portrayal of coercive behaviour in “Deposition,” directed by Sakhile Shann, revealing the emotional turmoil experienced by the characters.

Isolation: The controlling individual may isolate their partner, creating a dependence on them.

Constant Monitoring: Excessive checking of messages or whereabouts without consent is a sign of control.

Manipulation: Emotional manipulation, guilt, or blackmail are common in controlling relationships.

Financial Control: Restricting spending or withholding money can be a form of coercive behaviour.

Gaslighting: Making someone doubt their reality or perceptions is a clear sign of control.

Intimidation: Threats, angry outbursts, and physical intimidation indicate a controlling relationship.

A tense moment between characters, illustrates the subtle signs of controlling behaviour in "Deposition" directed by Sakhile Shann.

In this gripping scene from “Deposition,” directed by Sakhile Shann, the tension is palpable as characters navigate a complex interaction, highlighting the nuanced signs of controlling behaviour.

Trust Your Instincts: Acknowledge discomfort and trust your instincts if something feels wrong.

Patterns of Behaviour: Recognise recurring control patterns, avoiding the dismissal of isolated incidents.

Communication Breakdown: Notice breakdowns in open communication and fear of expressing thoughts.

Emotional Impact: Consistent fear, anxiety, or manipulation warrant an assessment of the relationship dynamics. Signs include fear, intimidation, threats, financial manipulation, limitations on independence, preying on vulnerabilities, dependence on self-worth, eroded self-confidence, and cyclical patterns of controlling behaviour. If you recognise these signs, seeking help is crucial.

Characters in isolation, emphasising the impact of controlling relationships in "Deposition" directed by Sakhile Shann.

Isolation is portrayed vividly in this scene, underscoring the profound impact of controlling relationships depicted in “Deposition,” directed by Sakhile Shann.

Friends and Family: Reach out to trusted individuals who can provide support and perspective. Counselling and Therapy: Professional counsellors specialise in helping individuals navigate challenging relationships.

National Helplines: Utilise helplines dedicated to domestic abuse. In the UK, call the free National Domestic Violence Hotline at 0808 2000 247.

Local Support Organisations: Research local organisations assisting those facing controlling and coercive behaviour.

Close-up of a distressed character, emphasising emotional impact in "Deposition" directed by Sakhile Shann.

A close-up shot captures the distress of a character, emphasising the emotional impact depicted in “Deposition,” directed by Sakhile Shann.

If you have concerns about coercive control in your relationship, seek help from professionals trained in dealing with domestic abuse through resources such as:

Anah Project

Victim Support

National Domestic Abuse Helpline (freephone, 24-hour helpline)

Women’s Aid




Breaking the silence surrounding controlling and coercive behaviour is the first step toward healing and creating a safer environment. If you or someone you know is experiencing controlling behaviour, remember that help is available, and you are not alone in this journey toward healing and empowerment.

Experience the impactful ‘Deposition’ by Sakhile Shann film, shedding light on controlling or coercive behaviour.

Watch now to delve into this powerful narrative and gain valuable insights. 

Donate to us