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Coercive control: Patterns in crimes, arrests and outcomes for a new domestic abuse offence

Brennan, Iain; Myhill, Andy


Andy Myhill


Critics of the criminalisation of coercive control warned that the criminal justice system was ill-prepared for a conceptualisation of domestic abuse that relies on victim accounts of fear and manipulation rather than on evidence of violence. Using data obtained through freedom of information requests to police forces and aggregated police records, this paper presents police force-level and nationwide patterns in recorded crimes, police arrests and crime outcomes for this new crime and shows that, nationally, the number of recorded crimes and arrests rose steadily, but there was significant variation in these patterns between police forces. Analysing police outcomes, we demonstrate that coercive control crimes face greater evidential challenges and are far less likely to result in prosecution than domestic abuse crimes in general. We discuss their implications of these trends and findings for the policing and criminalisation of coercive control.


Brennan, I., & Myhill, A. (in press). Coercive control: Patterns in crimes, arrests and outcomes for a new domestic abuse offence. The British journal of criminology,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 22, 2021
Online Publication Date Jul 31, 2021
Deposit Date Jun 21, 2021
Publicly Available Date Aug 1, 2023
Journal The British journal of criminology
Print ISSN 0007-0955
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Article Number azab072
Keywords Coercive control; Domestic abuse; Policing
Public URL


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