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Service provider difficulties in operationalising coercive control

Brennan, Iain R.; Burton, Victoria; Gormally, Sinead; O’Leary, Nicola


Sinead Gormally


We examined perspectives of social workers, police officers and specialist domestic abuse practitioners about their perceived ability and organisational readiness to respond effectively to incidents of coercive and controlling behaviour. Interviews revealed intervention and risk assessment strategies structured around an outdated, maladaptive concept of domestic abuse as an unambiguous and violent event and frontline services that lacked appreciation of the power dynamics inherent in controlling relationships. The analysis demonstrates how lack of definitional clarity around non-physical domestic abuse can increase the use of discretion by frontline services and, by extension, increase the discounting of coercive control by pressured frontline officers.


Brennan, I. R., Burton, V., Gormally, S., & O’Leary, N. (2019). Service provider difficulties in operationalising coercive control. Violence against women, 25(6), 635-653.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 18, 2017
Online Publication Date Sep 21, 2018
Publication Date May 1, 2019
Deposit Date Jan 18, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jan 18, 2018
Journal Violence Against Women
Print ISSN 1077-8012
Electronic ISSN 1552-8448
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Issue 6
Pages 635-653
Keywords Coercive control; Service provider; Police
Public URL
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement ©2018 University of Hull


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