What is Coercive Control?

What is Coercive Control?

04 - 06 - 2021
What is Coercive Control? | Family Law Gold Coast | Advance Family Law

Coercive Control is not a new ‘buzz’ word invented by the media.  Coercive Control has not been invented and it is not something that has only arisen this century.

Coercive control is insidious, as it is a pattern of behaviours by the dominate partner to create a power imbalance, so that one party controls the other party. Coercive control is progressive and can commence from the beginning of the relationship and continue over months and years, undermining the other party’s self-worth and dignity to a point where they no longer believe in themselves and doubt their own ability to have an opinion.  If the controlled person attempts to stick up for themselves, they are very brutally made to feel that they have a psychiatric problem for questioning the behaviours of the other party.

Coercive Control can be identified by the following behaviours:

  1. Monitoring Activities –
    1. Questioning your choice in clothes and asking you to dress to make your partner happy;
    2. Questioning what you are eating. “Now we don’t want to get fat do we?”;
    3. Questioning where you are going and why, then contacting you to ensure you are where you are supposed to be. “Why do you have to see them?”;
    4. Tracking devices, are quietly recording your details, which you may not be aware of. Alternatively, if the coercive partner is not that Tech savvy they can always call you and ask if you have arrived, or ask when you are coming home.


  1. Insulting you, calling you stupid, undermining your intelligence –
    1. Telling you that nobody else would consider you a suitable partner, because only your partner could put up with your flaws.


  1. If you do threaten to leave or stand up for yourself, again you can be undermined, by being told –
    1. “You won’t take my super”;
    2. “You did nothing during this relationship”;
    3. “I will take the kids and you will never see them again”;
    4. “A Court will never believe you”;
    5. “If you leave, the family pet will have to be put down”;
    6. “If you leave, I will kill you and the children”;
    7. “If you leave, I will kill myself and the children”.


  1. Financial Control –
    1. Taking control over the finances and telling you that, “you don’t have a head for figures”, or your partner is more efficient than you are so will continue to control the finances;
    2. Asking permission before buying something.


  1. Sexual Coercion – is when you are manipulated into participating in unwanted sexual activity –
    1. Again, you can be coerced as you are told it is your “duty”;
    2. You can be coerced because it would “make your partner happy”; or
    3. If you do not submit, you know your partner will be sulking, abusive, angry for the next few days.

Please note, the insidious acts described above are only scratching the surface of

examples of coercive control.

If you are feeling ill, and challenged by reading this, or know somebody who the above scenarios apply to, ACT NOW, to stop this domestic violence.

The Police, the Domestic Violence Service for Women and Men, as well as the Children’s Help Line are all services who may be able to assist.

For free family law advice, call our Gold Coast Family Lawyers or our Logan Family Lawyers on telephone (07) 5679 8016.