The definitions and theories of family violence, and Coercive Control, have been developed and extended by multiple psychological theorists across the world.  In particular Evan Stark. 


ECLIPSE will incorporate those theories, but will also introduce the Practitioner-Victim Insight Concept (PVIC)© and the interconnected dynamics and impacts of Coercive Control-The Umbrella Tactic, Rewards Based Phenomenon, Layers of Consequence, Invisible Walls and Whole of Person Entrapment©. ECLIPSE founder and Director Debbs Murray has personally developed these theories as a direct result of two key aspects of her life, one as specialist practitioner with 20 years experience working within and across the family violence sector in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Secondly, as a survivor of family violence, with a lived and learned experience that has created the solid and robust foundation of these concepts.


A significant part of the ECLIPSE training experience is key facilitator Debbs inviting an interactive ‘no holds barred’ training environment, and providing a raw perspective of her journey into, through and out of family violence. Debbs welcomes participants direct questioning and encourages the asking of questions many have never felt able to ask.


By delving into the interconnected, but balanced survivor/practitioner perspective ECLIPSE training packages will increase understanding of the complexities of family violence to the point of creating new opportunity for genuine empathy and connection to occur.


There is often a level of judgement within the family violence sector, and ECLIPSE trainings support the development of a higher level of understanding and empathy for the liberty stripping dynamics of family violence. ECLIPSE focuses on identifying the courageous characteristics of resistence that primary victims project across the confines of multi layered abuses. As a nation, a sector, and as practitioners, responders and citizens we need to collectively stand up and take ownership of creating safer whanau – if you see something, do something.


ECLIPSE training will provide you with new knowledge, understanding and tools to strengthen your engagement and intervention strategies

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- The Umbrella  Tactic 

COERCIVE CONTROL - The Umbrella Tactic



Coercive Control although often complex and unseen in its perpetration, is easy to explain …it 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, the result is 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 his primary victim.  A perpetrator can gain full control over his 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.



As explained coercive control is a tactic that can be perpetrated anytime and anywhere, and the most concerning aspect of this form of abuse is that it is for the greater part invisible/unseen.  ECLIPSE has developed a concept that highlights the fact that every form of family violence is a form of coercive control, because every form of coercive control is an ACTION that is perpetrated by a predominant aggressor towards their primary victim in order to get a calculated REACTION.  Very basic examples are - physical assault (ACTION) to gain submission (REACTION) or Economic Abuse (ACTION) to gain control (REACTION) or Isolation (ACTION) to gain dependence (REACTION)


 Coercive Control is now being internationally recognised as such a destructive family violence tactic, that it has being criminalised in countries such as Australia (2021), Ontario, Canada (2020), Scotland (2018), Ireland (2018), the UK (2015) and Wales (2015). New Zealand currently has no legislation that highlights or criminalises Coercive Control in the context of FV.




The Rewards Based Phenomenon is an attempt to explain why Predominant Aggressors continue to perpetrate harm against those that they are supposed to love and nuture. 


It is based on the ideal that human nature sees us continuing to act in particular ways or engage in particular activities because there is some kind of reward in it for us.  If we engage in behaviour that harms  or hurts us, we don't tend to go back to that activity.


If we use the concept that ECLIPSE created - Coercive Control - The Umbrella Tactic, which indicates that every act of family violence, in simplistic terms, it is simply a perpetrated ACTION to get a desired REACTION.  Then this supports the fact that if predominant aggressors are repeatedly getting the outcomes (Reactions) that they seek from the primary victim then there is some form of rewards based response occurring. 


This is not a tested concept - but it is based on lived experiences of victimisation and understanding  the predominant aggressors behaviour patterns.  In saying this it is critical to recognise, idenitify and honour that our primary victims resist violence in many ways everyday, to reduce the risk of harm




This concept was developed by ECLIPSE to try and explain the layers of trauma that exist when exposed to family violence.  For example one act of coercive control by a predominant aggressor has more than one consequence for the primary victim.  For example a physical assault will not only result in physical injuries, but there will be the unseen consequences - the hurt, shame, humiliation, confusion, fear, depression, and the list goes on until we have layer upon layer of consequences.



The Invisible Walls theory was developed ECLIPSE to provide an answer to the still asked question of  ,“why don’t victims just leave”?

The Invisible Walls theory highlights the cumulative impact of layers of consequence, and how these result in the construction of very real barriers to freedom.  The coercive tactics can vary, but what remains consistent, is that with every individual threat or act of violence, and layer of consequence, barriers are constructed to add to the isolation, and inhibit the primary victims access to the basic right to freedom, and practitioners pathways to safety engage with whānau.


Although invisible to all but the primary victims and the predominant aggressor, these walls are regularly reinforced with each new threat, and present a barrier to help seeking and sectoral engagement.  As a sector and community we firstly need to identify the existence of the Invisible Walls, and secondly how they are contructed then very carefully navigated in order to support whānau to navigate to and live a life free of violence.

For survivors of family violence the question "why didn't you just leave" can be distressing, as this question implies that the responsibility for harm reduction lies with the primary victim, and this creates an inadvertent sense of  judgement.

If we do not get this right as practitioners and community, we can also add to the Invisible Wall and create barriers through deficient response, practice or systemic or organisational structures



When Coercive control is used as a liberty restricting tactic, and the Invisible Walls are constructed the direct result of that is “Whole of Person Entrapment”.


This is where components of what makes an individual an individual are stripped from them and every aspect of who they are/were is entrapped in a cycle of oppression and loss of autonomy.


An existence of isolation and trauma.


Access to freedom, to freewill, to high levels of self-worth, esteem and identity have been removed. The primary victim often no longer has a full sense of self and multiple aspects of their lives, if not all, are dictated and directed by the perpetrator of harm.

The Whole of Person Entrapment theory is called this because it consists of multiple layers of entrapment across multiple aspects of a primary victims existence, and can impact every aspect of the whole person.  Whole of Person Entrapment can see a person being entrapped physically, sexually, emotionally, psychologically, financially, through the use of children, and multiple other forms of abuse.

What ECLIPSE understands is that no one person ever wants to live in fear or entrapped in a cycle of degradation and restriction. The fear of leaving supersedes all else, and yet every primary victim wants to break free from the cycle of harm. The key to success is that it takes the knowledge, empathy and genuine connection with service providers to assist in supporting increased safety and wellbeing to achieve safer whānau.