Coercive control

Our Voices

Coercive control

Coercive Control is about patterns of abuse designed to isolate, intimidate and force submission from a woman. SiSi says women because in 96% of cases of Coercive Control, the victim is a woman and the perpetrator is usually a man whom she has trusted and he has violated that trust. Most often women we come across in SiSi have left abusive relationships and are grappling to navigate abusive court proceedings where ex-partners enforce their ‘entitlements’ in a whimsical fashion with life destroying financial abuse and post separation control continuing for as long as the court allows abusive applications to be made. 

In cases of Coercive Control abusive applications to court are identified as stage five of the Domestic Homicide timeline by Prof Jane Moncton Smith., where usually male intimate abusers use the courts to reassert control and domination over their ex-partner and children. 

Coercive Control as a crime is measured against what a reasonable person would consider a deprivation of liberty. Reasonable people do not need to make continuous applications to court in the name of parenting. However the international court system along with men’s rights activists have made an industry out of family court proceedings on the basis that every child needs a father and that outcome must be imposed on all separating families. 

While contact with an abuser continues through child contact arrangements, his victim is still controlled and abused and her ability to enjoy her life with her children, sacrificed to an ideology. 

SiSi is here to fight for appropriate protections and interventions that will give women and children back their lives after surviving abuse in all forms including rape, stalking, harrassment, financial abuse, assault, and abuse by proxy which means using children and parental rights to terrify mothers and weapoinise state and services as a means to control an ex-partner and her children. 

@SiSi acknowledges that men may be victims too and some women commit Coercive Control.

“If I had known then what I know now” is the constant refrain of women going through the family court system where they frequently experience injustice. Entering courts as victims of horrendously damaging intimate abuse, we commonly face the accusation of malicious allegations of abuse and questioning by experts who are probably of the opinion (opinion is not law) that two parents are better than one, despite one being an abuser.  Is it best legal advice to tell women to stay quiet about the abuse they and their children have suffered and agree to shared parenting as that will probably be the best you can hope to achieve?  Or else say nothing in the family courts about ongoing devastating child sex abuse for fear your children will be removed and given to the perpetrator and your contact as a mother will now be supervised? If a mother tries to protect her children she may face endless litigation as there is no limit to the number of applications an abuser can make to court. Now supporters of DARVO (Domestic Abuse Reverse Victim Offender) are advertising their advocacy to push men through the court system. Tragically for women, these scenarios are all too familiar and determine outcomes for families fleeing domestic violence.

“Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse. If  we focus on the sexual and physical abuse we miss 98% of the Coercive Control. We all know women we used to know, where have they gone to? We hear stories of unhappy marriages, why doesn’t she leave? Leaving is the most dangerous time of all and if there are children then the state will never let you leave. So she just disappears and if she fights back or refuses to waste away quietly, well then she is mad or bad. So how does Coercive Control work? Any way he wants it to. Society is built to support it because we live in a coercive society that relies on secrecy and adversarial justice. Let’s make sure our stories are heard.”