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 Interviews revealed intervention and risk assessment strategies structured around an outdated, maladaptive concept of domestic abuse as an unambiguous and violent event and frontline services that lacked appreciation of the power dynamics inherent in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. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801218797478