Intimate partner violence is already a complicated form of interpersonal violence. Problems range from the cycle of abuse to the confusing loyalty exhibited by abused partners. These problems are further complicated by the fact that controlling behaviors of the perpetrating partner often go undetected by others and may be normalized by the abused partner. What we know is that coercive control is more common in abusive partner relationships than realized. Coercive control is often characterized by the perpetrator’s intention to gain control; the victim not wanting to be controlled; and the presence of threats or implied threats that lace the interactions in the abusive relationship. Because these behaviors often go undetected, this presentation provides a concise overview of the behaviors entailed in coercive control, including what evaluators, treatment providers, supervising agents should be monitoring and assessing.
It is critical for professionals to be able to identify coercively controlling behaviors, in order to effectively evaluate, supervise, and treat abusive perpetrators. It will also be of interest to those working with individuals who may have cause to wonder whether their client, friend, or colleague is in an abusive relationship and offer ideas for intervention.