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  • Call 111 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger.

  • Phone It's Not OK on 0800 456 450 for support finding a service near you.

  • Phone the Women's Refuge Crisis line on 0800 REFUGE (0800 733 843).

Coercive Control

Coercive control is often complex and unseen in its perpetration. Coercive control is a destructive pattern-based tactic or series of tactics that are utilised by predominant aggressors to gain control over and isolate their primary victims. Resulting in the calculated and deliberate removal of an individual’s freedom and liberties.


Coercive control can involve very serious acts of violence against both primary victims and pets, but often the psychological fear of consequence for ‘non-compliance’ is enough for the predominant aggressor to achieve and maintain full control over their primary victim. A perpetrator can gain full control over their victim with patterns of behaviour such as looks, comments, texts, invoking timeframes and consequences, and threats of harm. Each of these often small actions when looked at through a cumulative impact lens, build a barrier to freedom by creating an invisible wall between victims and a life free from harm - this is entrapment.

Signs of coercive control can include:

  • Physical violence

  • Sexual violence

  • Monitoring

  • Stalking

  • Harassment

  • Financial abuse

  • Psychological and emotional violence

  • Threats and intimidation

  • Using children/pets

  • And many more


Coercive control is now being internationally recognised as such a destructive family violence tactic, that it has being criminalised in countries such as Australia, Ontario Canada, Scotland, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Wales. Aotearoa New Zealand currently has no legislation that criminalises coercive control in the context of family violence.

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